As you may have heard, the governor has declared Monday to be the day that New Jersey is to celebrate Halloween. Trick-or-treating in Frenchtown will be on Sunday, Nov. 4, 3-5 p.m.
I respect Governor Christie and I applaud his response to Hurricane Sandy. Parts of New Jersey have suffered beyond what we here in Frenchtown can even imagine — and that suffering is far from over. The governor is rightly concerned about the safety and welfare of residents across the state. But Mr. Christie is not here in Frenchtown. What’s best for people elsewhere in the state is not necessarily best for us.
It is best for our community to hold trick-or-treating when we can provide our children with a safe environment to do so.
Unlike much of New Jersey, Frenchtown sustained relatively little damage from Hurricane Sandy. My understanding is that fewer than three dozen homes lost power for more than a day. Of course, there are downed trees and branches throughout town, and some residents still have debris and downed trees on or near walkways. In addition, there are downed wires on River Road and elsewhere in the borough — although we’re told that these are largely cable and telephone lines and not live electrical wires. (Kudos to Officer Dave Voll, Chief Al Kurylka and DPW Manager Mike Reino who helped JCP+L crews accomplish that.)
I consulted with Chief Kurylka and OEM Director/Council President, but I made the call. The Chief in particular would have preferred that we not sanction trick-or-treating at all, but in my opinion:
1) It is in our collective interest to control when TOT occurs to optimize police, fire and CERT involvement.
2) Scheduling TOT for Sunday gives residents additional time to clean up their property. That will reduce the potential for accidents.
3) Limiting TOT to two daylight hours further increases children’s safety.
Alexandria Township Mayor Gabe Plumer approached me tonight to say that his town will follow our lead and hold TOT on Sunday when we do. I hope the other Del Val towns will do so as well.
Please, please, please… let’s make sure that our children enjoy a safe holiday. Clear your sidewalks and curbs as much as possible. DO NOT put debris or even leaves into the street. (We want to make it as easy as possible for cars to get around and don’t want to do anything that might put children in danger of being hit by a car swerving to avoid debris in the road.) More than anything else, encourage your children to be attentive to the physical environment, to keep away from fallen or leaning trees, to stay clear of any wire regardless of how safe it seems, and to be particularly aware of cars and trucks on the roads.