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Local Column

Olson: Somebody's got to set trick-or-treat rules

It somewhat pains me to take the view that local governments should have a role in deciding when children can Trick-or-Treat.

“Keep the government out of our folk traditions,” is a more romantic argument than “we need a regulated and orderly method of giving away free candy to kids.”

But here’s the deal: There are 8,760 hours in a year. Of those, there are about four to six during which it is considered acceptable for me as an adult man to offer candy to children I don’t know when they come to my door.

Somebody has to decide when those hours will be.

If, from the hours of 4 to
8 p.m. Oct. 31, I am supposed to give candy to kids, then I will – for those hours only.

The weather is always hit-or-miss at Halloween. Last year it was so pleasant we didn’t need jackets and everyone strolled the sidewalks having a great time.

But some years it rains. Or it’s cold. Or it’s rainy and cold.

Part of the deal is that you have to be prepared for anything. It’s a good lesson for children: You’ve got to work for your reward. Or, sometimes you have to be willing to improvise.

This snowstorm we had on Thursday was new, however, and kind of ridiculous.

It’s too early to be shoveling snow that’s going to melt soon enough, but I really don’t want children slipping and falling in my driveway for the sake of a few Milk Duds. And sure, I’d like to see the local kids in their costumes – some of them put a lot of thought and effort in.

Those communities that decided to move trick-or-treat time to Friday or Saturday might have been doing the sensible thing, but they also confused everyone else. People were asking all day if the date would change here because it had elsewhere.

No. Halloween in DeKalb County was Thursday. That’s when adults give candy to random children. It’s weird any other day of the year.

This is where we need government to take a stand and say, “No, we’re not postponing Halloween. If you want free candy, go out and get it today from 4 to 8 p.m.”

While we can’t only have Halloween on days when the weather’s nice, somebody’s got to set some ground rules. I can’t be caught flat-footed by freelance trick-or-treaters.

That’s a good way to get your windows soaped up.

• Eric Olson is general manager of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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