Many communities around the Miami Valley faced the prospect of wondering how bad the weather was going to be last Thursday evening, and what to do about Trick-or-Treating.
But Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly had one less thing to worry about. You see, it’s his task each year to schedule Beggars’ Night, a duty he inherited some years back, although he’s not sure exactly now how it fell to him. The local ghosts, goblins and other characters got their goodies the previous Saturday evening.
Kelly normally selects a Saturday close to Halloween for Beggars’ Night, pointing out that “Saturday just works best.” The hours are typically 6 to 8 p.m., which is when “it’s a little light, a little dark.”
But he recalled Trick-or-Treating was held one year in the afternoon.
Talking about the Saturday schedule, Kelly said “it’s worked out well,” adding he has received good response to it from the public.
He points out holding it on other days — especially if Halloween falls during the week — presents a conflict with other events, particularly school functions. And parents tell him holding Beggars’ Night during the week makes it hard for them to get home in time for it.
I recall the past difficulties in scheduling Trick-or-Treating in New Carlisle. One year, we set aside a Sunday evening, which drew waves of criticism because of church functions.
Because I have relatives who live in Upstate New York, I’m familiar with their system. It’s always held on Oct. 31st, but there are no set hours, so people can show up anywhere from late afternoon until who knows when at night.
Our system is much better. Beggars’ Night is held during a time that is convenient for most people and reduces the amount of people coming in vehicles from outside neighborhoods. For the most part, it’s younger children and parents taking part. At my house, we have a fairly steady stream of visitors during the first hour, which then falls off to a trickle from 7 to 7:30 p.m., followed by just a few stragglers the last half hour.
And this year, we certainly lucked out when it comes to the weather.