With Halloween falling in the middle of the week this year, local communities hope the holiday will involve only the treats and none of the tricks.
Glenville Police Chief Michael Ranalli said the midweek holiday will of course not deter the trick-or-treaters, who are allowed to collect candy in the town between 4 and 8 p.m., but he believes it could reduce mischief.
“It’s just later on that it should be cut down,” he said. “The older kids that are interested in things other than trick-or-treating.”
At a glance
Trick-or-treating times in some local communities:
Amsterdam: 6 to 8 p.m.
Clifton Park: 4 to 8 p.m.
Glenville: 4 to 8 p.m.
Gloversville: 6 to 8 p.m.
Johnstown: 6 to 8 p.m.
Rotterdam: 3 to 8 p.m.
Schenectady: 4 to 8 p.m.
Scotia: 4 to 8 p.m.
The youths’ mischief is usually confined to spraying shaving cream and throwing eggs — usually among themselves.
“We have some acts rise to criminal mischief or criminal nuisance level, but not as much. The vast majority is just them horsing around with themselves,” he said.
Still, area officials are prepared for whatever mischief may come from youths. Schenectady police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said more officers will be on duty to guard against Halloween vandalism.
“We’ll have extra guys on the street,” he said. “We’ll increase our staffing levels to try to calm that. We’re turn to neighborhood watch to give us an extra set of eyes out there to make sure they’re not doing any mischief.”
The problems start when the sun goes down, according to McCracken. Among the issues in the past have been the usual toilet-papering of houses and throwing of eggs. McCracken doesn’t think the holiday falling in the middle week will have too much of an impact on the crowds. The weather usually has a greater impact, he said.
Official trick or treating hours for the city are from 2 to 8 p.m. Mayor Gary McCarthy is asking residents to turn off their porch lights at 8 p.m. and stop handing out treats.
State troopers are also guarding against Halloween pranks such as people throwing pumpkins off of Thruway overpasses. Troopers and citizen volunteers began monitoring overpasses on Tuesday as part of the 36th annual “Pumpkin Patrol.” Seventeen organizations from 19 counties, including local citizens’ band radio club members and amateur radio operators, are helping with this year’s efforts.
Police also will watch for speeding, drunken driving and aggressive driving.
The “Pumpkin Patrol” began in 1976 when a Montgomery County woman — Katherine St. Jacques of Fort Johnson— was talking to a truck driver on her citizens’ band radio when the windshield of her vehicle was struck by an object thrown off an overpass. Broken glass from the windshield injured the driver. She and two companions then held watch over the three overpasses in Fort Johnson. State police took over the patrol in 1990.
“Dangerous pranks can quickly turn into tragedy, and these patrols help prevent this type of activity,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison in a news release.
Halloween is also about candy and safe fun. And there will be plenty of that offered in local communities.
The Schenectady Fire Department will hand out candy, activity books and fire safety information at four locations — Station 1 at 360 Veeder Ave., Station 2 at 1515 State St., Station 3 on Third Avenue and Station 4 at the intersection of Avenue A and Nott Street.
Other communities are also doing special events. Scotia’s firefighters are riding a fire truck and giving out cider and doughnuts to children.
Scotia Mayor Kris Kastberg said the village usually has very few problems with mischief following the trick-or-treating, which begins at 4 p.m.
“After 8 o’clock, there’s not supposed to be anybody out running around on the streets anyway,” he said. “We generally do not have a lot of issues.”
The Fonda Fire Department and Reform Outreach Ministry will have a party at the church at 19-21 Broadway. A parade will start at 6 p.m. at the Fairview gas station at 40 East Main St. There will be refreshments, cider, coffee, hot chocolate and candy as well as games for children. Trick-or-treating will be allowed until 8 p.m.
Officials are urging children to only trick-or-treat when it is light outside, but if they must go out during dusk or after dark, they should carry a flashlight and wear reflective tape on their costumes.
Children are advised to stay within their own neighborhood, travel down streets that are well-lit and walk with an adult or older sibling. Also, they should remove masks to cross streets and cross at the corner.
Children should also wait until they bring the candy home so it can be inspected by an adult before eating.