Athol sets trick-or-treating hours to 5-7:30 p.m.​​​​​​​

  • Police Chief Craig Lundgren attended Tuesday’s meeting of the Athol Selectboard to discuss trick-or-treating hours for Halloween. The board ultimately settled on 5 to 7:30 p.m. Listening are (left to right) Town Council John Barrett and boardmember William Chiasson. Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 10/3/2019 9:55:20 PM
Modified: 10/3/2019 9:55:10 PM

ATHOL — As observers of New England-style local government know, even the most seemingly mundane issues can spark a debate. Such was the case at Tuesday’s meeting of the Athol Selectboard, when the topic of trick-or-treat hours for Halloween arose.

“This will be my first Halloween in Athol,” Police Chief Craig Lundgren told the board, “so I relied on Lt. Cote and my sergeants. I guess past practice in Athol – it’s worked well – has been 5 to 8, so I recommend that [it] not be changed. Hold it from 5 to 8.”

“I, for years,” responded board member William Chiasson, “for all the years I spent working in public education, hate late-hours trick-or-treating. I really feel that three hours – 5 to 8 – is more than we need, and I would rather see it 5 to 7. The kids would be in before it gets too late.”

A brief discussion about what time darkness falls followed, with board Chair Rebecca Bialecki responding, “It’s 7:30 now, and look how dark it is.”

Board member Stephen Raymond agreed with Chaisson and favored two hours, from 5 to 7.

“I think there are somewhat less families that go out trick-or-treating in general, nowadays,” said Bialecki, “because it’s not a safe a world as we once lived in. So, I don’t know that three hours is necessary. Kids can collect an awful lot of candy in two hours.”

Selectwoman Holly Young said she thought 5 to 7 is too early because “a lot of people don’t even get out of work until 6. They’re not going to be in town to bring their kids until later. It’s not like everyone can get out at 5.”

Chaisson said it starts to quiet down by 7 o’clock in his residential neighborhood, and once in a while they might get someone who comes later. He said if it is a three-hour period the board is looking for, he wouldn’t object to the trick-or-treating commencing at 4 o’clock.

“One of the things I’ve heard over the last couple of years, when we talked about Halloween trick-or-treat hours,” said Bialecki, “is that, if you do it earlier, you have people who work until 5. It’s impossible for them to get out there and get their houses set up to give out the candy.”

Chiasson then amended his original thought, and moved that trick-or-treating take place in Athol between 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31. The motion was unanimously adopted.

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