Storm-battered towns delay trick-or-treating

By postponing trick-or-treating, town leaders in Topsham give crews more time to clean up after a major wind storm

TOPSHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Streets littered with tree branches and kids wearing easily snaggable capes are not a good combination.

Until more progress is made to clean the damage from Monday's wind storm, some communities in Maine have postponed Halloween trick-or-treating activities.

Topsham is one of those communities. More than 80 percent of the town lost power as a result of the storm. The extent of the damage was so severe that town leaders worried about the danger of allowing hundreds of children to navigate downed wires and tree limbs. They decided instead to delay the town Halloween parade and trick-or-treating until Friday, November 3.

Brunswick also schedules trick-or-treating along with a parade. And as in Topsham, leaders in Brunswick likewise opted to move the festivities to Friday.

Friday is the preferred day for Halloween activities of city leaders and police in Bangor. Although their statement is not an outright order, they strongly stressed their safety concerns in making their recommendations against wandering the unlit and debris-strewn streets on Tuesday.

Trick-or-treating isn't specifically regulated in other communities such as Cumberland. Rather than issuing prohibitions, town leaders made suggestions to families. Especially in neighborhoods with no working street lights, trick-or-treaters are asked to start visiting houses earlier in the evening, wear reflective clothing, carry a flashlight, use a buddy system and, of course, look both ways before crossing the street.

Freeport has a town-sanctioned trick-or-treating event in the downtown district. Electricity is working there allowing it to proceed as scheduled on Halloween from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. In other parts of town that remain blacked out, town leaders advised against trick-or-tricking. Those who choose to go anyway are warned to be careful of downed power lines and other obstacles that have not yet been cleaned.

Leaders in Kittery faced a similar situation five years earlier when Hurricane Sandy was heading in their direction. They decided to celebrate Halloween early before the storm hit.

The city of Bath says their trick-or-treating has been postponed until Friday, Nov. 3.

Windham did not strictly say trick-or-treating has been postponed, however reminded residents that ¾ of the town is still without power. Windham police are strongly recommending that residents avoid trick-or-treating in neighborhoods where power hasn't been restored.

"HALLOWEEN HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED," Augusta police posted on Facebook, attached with an event flyer for a "Public Safety Trunk or Treat" from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

The city of Lewiston is not postponing trick-or-treating, citing CMP's report of about 397 homes still without power as of late Tuesday morning. Lewiston police urge citizens to avoid homes where there is clearly no power and to always be mindful of fallen trees or downed wires.

For those trick-or-treating in Brewer, city police recommend that extra safety precautions be taken. They provided the following tips: consider indoor events, go early (if trick-or-treating), choose only well-lit areas (if going later). Be careful where you step and don't go near live wires.

Scarborough police say "Halloween is only happy if everyone has fun AND stays safe." They say Halloween will not be canceled, but do ask that everyone uses common sense tonight.

Trick-or-treating in Gardiner is not canceled, but local police say the traditional method may be "out the window" due to obvious weather-related issues. They listed the following events being held: Truck or Treat from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Gardiner Area High School; trick-or-treating activities and hot dogs from 5 to 7 p.m. at Christ Church (2 Dresden Ave); and, although unconfirmed, rumors the Boys Scouts would be hosting an event at Gardiner Common.

Camden's police department says trick-or-treating will go on as planned, as well as events scheduled in the Pearl Street area. They encourage citizens to stay in areas that have power.

You should postpone trick-or-treating activities if you live in Yarmouth. Police there say they recognize some trick-or-treaters will be out regardless, but there are down and hanging utility lines, dark streets with debris and fallen trees. They suggest residents offer Friday night trick-or-treating to children who reschedule for the sake of safety precautions.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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