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Village eliminates time limit for trick-or-treating

October 13, 2010 - Halloween has officially been deregulated in the Village of Oxford.

In a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, council decided there will be no time schedule for trick-or-treating on Sunday, Oct. 31, meaning no starting time and no ending time for the traditional candy-gathering ritual.

Councilman Tony Albensi, who made the motion, believes parents should be the ones to oversee their kids' trick-or-treating, not government.

"I'm confident in parents' abilities to regulate their own children," he said. "It's not government's place to regulate what I like to call values. It amazes me the three years that I've been on council that this takes up 15 minutes of our time, their time and the people out there's time, when it's really government telling parents when their kids can trick-or-treat . . .It's not my place to be responsible for them or even regulate that. It's not government's place to parent."

Traditionally, trick-or-treating in the village had been limited to 6-7 p.m. on Halloween. In 2008 and 2009, council extended the hours to 7:30 p.m.

Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth disagreed with eliminating the time limit and voted against the motion. She believes that without set hours, the village will be inundated with trick-or-treaters from other communities.

"If we don't have trick-or-treat hours, you're going to have every community within 30 miles busing their kids into this town. You're going to have every kid in Oakland County on Park Street, on Pontiac Street," she said. "The one year back in the late 80s or early 90s that they went two hours, the poor couple at the corner of Pontiac and Burdick had 400 kids at their house within the first hour and they had to shut their lights out because they had nothing else to hand out. An hour-and-a-half is plenty of candy for any kid out there. You do not need extended hours."

Although he voted in favor of Albensi's motion, Councilman Tom Benner worried that not having set hours would adversely effect the fire department, which every year gives out free apple cider and donuts when trick-or-treating is finished for the night.

"I agree with Tony that we shouldn't tell the parents how long their kids can trick-or-treat, but on the other hand, to be fair to the fire department . . . I think it would be courteous to them to set a time," he said. "I do agree with Tony that it's not government's place to tell parents how to regulate their children. But on the other hand, I do agree that there should be some type of a time limit."

Fire Chief Pete Scholz wasn't concerned. He indicated to this reporter that cider and donuts would still be given away from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Halloween.

Village President Teri Stiles, who cast the other 'no' vote, expressed her belief that the time limit gave parents some added authority, especially when it came to telling older kids when they had to be off the streets for the night.

"Although I trusted my children, it was just nice to have that support and that backup of the community," she said. "I agree with you that we shouldn't tell people how to parent their children, but I'm just saying, having experienced that, it's a comforting thought to know that after 7:30 p.m. (the kids have to be home)."

Stiles also noted that not everyone celebrates Halloween. "There's a lot of people in this community that don't have kids and are relieved when Halloween is over, when trick-or-treating is over," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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