Publisher's Note — Trick-Or-Treat At Night

Trick-or-treat at night

Fall is almost here, and once again, Manchester residents face a haunting question: Why canít the city hold trick-or-treat at night?

Instead, Manchester kids will again make their spooky rounds in broad daylightóon Sunday, Oct. 31 from 1 to 4 p.m. (And itís only coincidence that allows this yearís trick or treating on Halloween. Usually, itís on the Saturday or Sunday before.)

And this is a shame. Not only does it rob young folks of the classic experience of nighttime trick-or-treating, but it sends out the wrong message about Manchester.

Think about it. Most other local communities hold trick-or-treat at night. What is it about Manchester that prevents us from doing so?

The obvious conclusion is that weíre somehow a dangerous placeóa community unsafe for kids and families, a city that somehow canít handle Halloween.

Nothing could be further than the truth. Weíre a vibrant and safe small city thatís full of families with young children who would have a ball with night-time trick-or-treating.

Also, we have many neighborhoods that are just perfect for nighttime trick-or-treating, with sidewalks and crosswalks and houses close together.

Trick-or-treating was shifted to daytime about 30 years ago, and there may have been good reasons to do it then.

But whatever the case was, things are different now. Weíre a safe city with a good sense of community. We can handle Halloween.

Police Chief John Jaskolka, who has the power to change this policy, is sworn to protect the publicónot overprotect it.

And to me, continuing this afraid-of-the-dark policy seems like, well, overkill.

Kids arenít in any more danger at night than during the day. If promoted properly, night-time trick-or-treat can be a kind of community celebration that daytime Halloween is only a shadow of.

If nothing else, the people of Manchester want nighttime trick-or-treat. A survey last year by our friends at The Union Leader found 75 percent of respondents wanted to return Halloween to the night.

So why not do it? Why canít Chief Jaskolka give the community an early Christmas present and let families make some genuinely spooky memories, instead of just lamely loping around the streets during the day?

In the end, Halloween is about the time-honored human need to confront your fears.

So, I have to ask Chief Jaskolka: Whatís there to really be afraid of here?

óJody Reese

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