Trick-or-Treat Day, Time Shall Be the People’s Choice, Council Decrees

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Trick or Treat

The timing of Trick-or-Treat seems to cause headaches in Hellertown annually, and not just for parents.

The seemingly unending saga involving controversy about when Trick-or-Treat should be held in Saucon Valley began a new chapter Tuesday, when Hellertown Borough Council voted 7-0 to allow residents to determine this year’s date and time via a poll.

In the past, council has selected the date and time, with the opportunity for residents to provide input at public council meetings. Few people have done so, and council’s choices have annually drawn criticism from residents, and particularly those who would prefer that Trick-or-Treat be held on Oct. 31. Traditionally Lower Saucon Township Council has voted to hold Trick-or-Treat in conjunction with Hellertown borough, although last year the idea of not conforming to the selected date and time was floated by a councilman.

In reality the township’s decision regarding the scheduling of Trick-or-Treat is less meaningful than the borough’s, since many township families opt to trick-or-treat in Hellertown, where there are sidewalks and it is easier and safer to walk around.

Although the borough and the township coordinate on many matters as well as the timing of major events, this too has been criticized by some residents who’ve stated in social media posts that Trick-or-Treaters should be confined to their own neighborhoods.

Last year’s Trick-or-Treat was held the Sunday before Oct. 31, on Oct. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. That time elicited criticism from residents who felt the event should be held after dark, or at least closer to dusk. Others, however, said they favored the daylight timing for safety reasons.

“No matter what you do, it’s not going to be good enough,” opined a weary-sounding council president Tom Rieger at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The plan is to survey residents online in February about when they would like this year’s Trick-or-Treat to be held. The survey will be a joint effort by Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township, conducted under the auspices of the Saucon Valley Partnership, and will only be open to residents of the two municipalities. Residents may only vote once.

Council will likely vote to approve the date and time chosen by the majority at its Monday, March 4 meeting.

Councilman Phil Weber predicted that Oct. 31, whose supporters have been among the most vocal, will receive the most votes.

Mayor David Heintzelman, who has attempted to gather public input about Trick-or-Treat in the past, didn’t share a prediction but said he hopes the decision will be final.

“I don’t want to do another one of these,” he said.

“It is what it is,” commented Rieger, who added that a survey will help prevent council from being a perennial punching bag for those who don’t like the chosen date and time.

Traditionally Trick-or-Treat has not been held on a school night. In recent years, the date and time of Trick-or-Treat in Hellertown and Lower Saucon has also changed annually, which has contributed to some confusion each year about when exactly it is being held.

Some of the reasons for changing the date and time in recent years have included:

  • Potential conflict with Saucon Valley High School’s Friday night football games.
  • A deliberate effort to hold it at the same time as Bethlehem’s Trick-or-Treat–following complaints by some borough residents–so children from the nearby municipality can’t attend both Trick-or-Treats.
  • Consideration for working parents’ schedules.

Council said the poll will be announced/launched via its website and social media feeds.

Tell us: When do you think Trick-or-Treat should be held in Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township? Do you think it is possible to choose a date and time that will satisfy the entire community?

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