(This story has been updated to let you know that the City Council does plan to discuss this request on Sept. 25 at its next regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.)
Do you think that the 4-6 p.m. trick-or-treat times in Chelsea are too early?
There’s a growing sentiment among parents in Chelsea that the “official” hours should be pushed back to 5:30-7:30 p.m., and more than 170 people have signed an online petition that requests the city change the times.
Although there is no ordinance dictating trick-or-treat hours, city officials have historically set the time around a party hosted by the Chelsea Kiwanis Club that takes place after the conclusion of trick-or-treating.
The Kiwanis, and more recently, the Chelsea Free Methodist Church, have held after trick-or-treat events for children in two different parking lots in the city.
Neil Horning of the Kiwanis Club said Wednesday night that “the club’s intent has been to get everything done before dark,” which is why they held the annual costume judging and offered free cider and donuts to trick-or-treaters from 6:15-6:45 p.m.
This year, he said, the Kiwanis and the church are discussing a combined program for Halloween, but the details have not been finalized.
“My feeling is that people can still trick-or-treat 45 minutes on each side of the Kiwanis party, if they would like to keep it at the same time,” said Dayna Hallsell, who was the first person to sign the petition.
Here’s the petition, which Hallsell read to the Chelsea City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 11, requesting that the city consider changing the “broadcasted hours” from 4-6 p.m. to 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The petition states that later hours would be more in line with surrounding communities such as Dexter, which holds its trick-or-treating from 5:30-7:30 p.m. or, according to the petition, Ann Arbor, where the hours are 5-8 p.m., while in Saline, the hours are 6-8 p.m.
Also included in the petition language, a later start would “relieve the burden of parents having to get off work early and speed home to get their children in their costumes and ready for the 4 p.m. start time.”
Some who signed the petition said they had to take a day off from work to get their children ready and some said that there were fathers who could not get home in time for work to go out trick-or-treating with their children.
Plus, the petition states, later hours would reduce the number of out-of-town children and their parents, who drive to Chelsea from outlying towns to take advantage of the earlier start time then return to their towns “for a second round of trick-or-treating.”
The petition states that a later start time would also reduce the number of extra cars in popular Chelsea neighborhoods.
And lastly, the petition states, the later hours would “make it more fun for the young and young at heart, seeing lit Jack O’Lanterns and houses decorated in the spooky festive fair that only comes to life after dark.”
Hallsell said she plans to attend the next City Council meeting (on Sept. 25) in the hope that the council will discuss and consider the petition request that’s been circulating this week.
Halloween falls on Wednesday night this year.
City Manager John Hanifan said by e-mail Thursday morning that the City Council does plan to discuss trick-or-treating times at its next regular meeting, which takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the new police building.
“The city is open to discussing and making a change, but wants to consider all pros and cons since the current hours have been in place for many years,” he said.