by Jonathan Weaver
The ghosts, goblins, and witches will come out a little earlier next week in a local borough.
During a special meeting last night, Ford City Borough has changed trick-or-treating Wednesday, October 26 from 6-8PM to 5-7PM.
The change is due to ongoing construction during the sewer separation project to allow children and parents to gather candy before the sun sets. Officials encourage all parties to be cautious while walking borough streets, but to especially be careful in the 1300 block of 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Avenues, along with the 500 block of 5th Avenue.
Select students, fire fighters and parents will also keep watch on children as they roam the streets.
Ford City Assistant Fire Chief Ray Klukan called the special meeting between safety personnel last night.
“We have to do something in these areas, especially that night when those kids are out,” Klukan said.
Prior to the meeting, Klukan said one proposal was to close down the trouble areas, but he found them to cautiously-accessible.
“I walked through it, and there are some bad spots but not enough to close the street down,” Klukan said.
Instead, the group encourages parents and children to follow some safety guidelines, including avoiding to wear a mask, if possible, keeping costumes off the ground and asking residents to keep their porch lights on during trick-or-treating, even if they are not giving out candy.
Klukan said the second hour of trick-or-treating is usually much slower than the first.
“We ride around in the fire truck every trick-or-treat. There were mobs of kids on the street and after that first hour, it’s just like someone went like *snap* and they all disappeared,” Klukan said. “When you have mobs like that, people only give out a certain amount of candy – if they have three bags of candy, and they give that out, they’re done.”
Ford City Jr. – Sr. High School Senior Class Advisor Cathy Rudosky hopes to have at least 60 students from the National Honor Society, Leo Club and Student Council volunteer their time to ensure safety during the two-hour time block. She said high school students typically like to trick-or-treat as well, but she hopes they avoid the sweets this year.
“The older kids like to trick-or-treat and dress up, but we’re going to try and keep them focused on making it safe for the younger kids so that they can enjoy Halloween like the older ones used to. I think the kids will embrace that because they still remember what it’s like to be a little kid and go trick-or-treating,” Rudosky said.
Julie Nortrup’s children have outgrown trick-or-treating, but volunteered her time to make sure the event goes smoothly.
“I’m personally going to sit outside my house, because I live right in the middle of my block, with whatever descriptive devices they have for us just so the kids and the parents know we’re there to help, and we’re safe people to approach,” Nortrup said.
Julie and her husband, Michael, joined the Ford City crime watch in July and have seen packs of children roam the streets during Halloween. She said the most important thing is ensuring safety during the evening hours.
“It’s very dangerous out there, even if the streets aren’t a mess. You have to be careful out there – there are all kinds of dangers out there, and kids have to be aware of that,” Nortrup said.
Klukan would like to have 50-60 volunteers, including students.
“The more we have, the better,” Klukan said.
Interested volunteers can call Klukan at 724-859-2913 or the Ford City Borough office at 724-763-3081.