By Brandi Makuski
In an annual debate which at times has mirrored the fever pitch of a budget meeting, city leaders have agreed to return trick-or-treating to the actual day of Halloween.
The city’s Public Protection Committee on Monday decried decisions made in the past, when trick-or-treating was sometimes held prior to the holiday and at different times. Past members of the Council have expressed concerns about the safety of youngsters trick-or-treating on October 31. Former Alderman Mike O’Meara once claimed the holiday had satanic roots, and letting kids knock on doors that night could put them in harm’s way.
Past councils have also worried about having kids on the street after dark, prompting a short-lived mid-afternoon trick-or-treating time. Concerns from the past also included inconveniencing working parents should Halloween land on a weekday.
But no more.
Several of the city’s alders were vocal on the subject, and all agreed the time spent debating the when and how of trick-or-treating had been a waste. Each said the event should be standardized so it no longer takes up the city’s time.
Denise Mrozek, alderwoman from District 2, said she researched surrounding cities, saying Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Schofield and several other municipalities all held trick-or-treating on Halloween.
“I’ve done research on this…every [municipality] surrounding us has it on Halloween,” Mrozek said. “We’re the only ones who do all this flip-flopping around.”
Alderwoman Mary Kneebone said trick-or-treating should be a fun event for kids, and suggested creating an alternative date for the event was unnecessary.
“Back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we trick-or-treated on Halloween. If it happened to be on a Friday or Saturday, we could just stay out later,” Kneebone said, laughing. “I vote for Halloween as well.”
Interim Police Chief Marty Skibba said he saw “no problem” with the change, saying the department’s auxiliary unit would be assisting with street patrols.
Mayor Mike Wiza said he welcomed the change.
“We’ve been dealing with this every single year on Council; there’s always heavy discussion on when we should do it, and when other [municipalities] are doing it,” said Wiza. “I would recommend this body just make a decision, and I would recommend you hold it on Halloween, whatever day that happens to fall on, every year.”
The committee voted unanimously to holding trick-or-treating between 5 PM and 8 PM every year on Halloween.
The measure now moves on to the full City Council- likely for the last time- on Sept. 21.