Commentary: Enjoy Beggar’s Night whenever it’s designated for your town

It is funny how sometimes news just seems to recycle itself.

Nearly 20 years ago when I was working for a newspaper in Enon and New Carlisle, the big topic of conversation in town was Beggar’s Night. Sheriff Gene Kelly had declared that Beggar’s Night, or Trick or Treat, would be held on the last Saturday night of October.

We got so many calls to the news room that week. People were unhappy because they had always had Beggar’s Night on Halloween, Oct. 31. It was tradition. No matter what day of the week Halloween fell on that was when the Trick or Treaters hit the sidewalks.

One of my assignments was to ask Sheriff Kelly why he had made these changes. The sheriff graciously answered as he always did. There were numerous reasons. One was that a Beggar’s Night that hit on High School Football Friday might have him shorthanded to cover so many places at once. Saturday night Trick or Treat ensured better deputy coverage of all events and it was better for the students to have the next day off on Sunday to recover from the excitement.

READ: Find out when your community is holding Beggar’s Night

So now let’s fast forward to 2019. Sheriff Deb Burchett announced last summer that Beggar’s Night would be on the actual day of Halloween this year and not on the last Saturday of October. Once again the communities were abuzz with people complaining about the changes.

As the great Yogi Berra once said, “It was déjà vu all over again.”

When I heard, I just had to laugh. Here we go again. I thought some folks would be happy, but evidently after awhile we look at things differently.

This year I was with this newspaper and I wasn’t assigned to interview the sheriff, but she did graciously explain her decision to another reporter. One of the reasons was to align our holiday with the surrounding areas, which does make sense.

And we all moved forward.

Well, not really.

Some of the citizens of New Carlisle were still not happy and the subject of Beggar’s Night was discussed at a city council meeting. It was decided that New Carlisle would have its own Trick or Treat on the last Saturday of October as it had for the last 20 years or so.

Since Bethel Twp. surrounds New Carlisle the subject next came up at a township meeting.

Dave Phares and the other Bethel Twp. Trustees recognized that this was a complicated situation.

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They had a dilemma since New Carlisle and Bethel Twp. share elementary schools.

If they went with the county date, the New Carlisle students in the schools would have Trick or Treat on Oct. 26 and the township students sitting next to them in class would have Trick or Treat on Oct. 31. Bethel Twp. Fire and EMS always has a big party after Trick or Treat on Saturday evenings but they could not have the late party on a Thursday Beggars Night since school would be the next day.

So Bethel Twp. decided to side with New Carlisle and also set their Beggar’s Night for Saturday Night Oct. 26.

“You know we just decided to avoid the confusion,” said Trustee David Phares.

The Party/Open House/Costume Contest will be held from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Bethel Township Firehouse, 3333 Lake Rd., Medway

Phares also feels that the Saturday is a better option for Halloween celebrations in the community anyway.

“I think the adults enjoy Halloween as much as the kids,” he said.

Meanwhile south of the Mad River more discussion was going on about whether or not to change the date. Would they go with New Carlisle and Bethel Twp. or with the rest of the county?

According to Enon’s Village Administrator Kevin Seifert, the county won this discussion. Enon will have Trick or Treat from 6 to 8 p.m. on Halloween.

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Since some parts of greater “Enon” are actually in Mad River Twp. and the township surrounds Enon, it was decided by the Mad River Township Trustees to set the Oct 31 Trick or Treat date also.

So once again the Mad River divides the area.

North of the river in Bethel Township including Park Layne, Donnelsville, and Medway, and in New Carlisle Trick or Treat will be on Oct. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

South of the Mad River, Enon and the surrounding countryside known as Mad River Township will have Trick or Treating on Halloween Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.

I have a feeling that those Mad River bridges just might get a lot of use on those two nights. I’d recommend buying some extra candy this year.

And I’m predicting that some time in the future a decree will go out about a different night for Beggar’s Night and everyone will be upset.

Whether it be Trick or Treat or Beggar’s Night or whatever day it falls upon, I hope that the beggars and homeowners have fun, that drivers are especially cautious, that the streets are filled with laughter, and that someone shares some Baby Ruths with me.

Happy Halloween Week.

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