Halloween postponed

by Bruce Kasanoff on October 31, 2011

Today Westport, Connecticut tried to postpone Halloween.

“The possibility of falling tree limbs, slippery surface conditions, and electrocution hazards remain very real throughout town, and the situation is as bad or worse than the recent damage caused by tropical storm Irene,” according to the Fire Department.

There’s only one problem. School was open.

All over town, kids stumbled out of their driveways, down side roads, and alongside busy roads – some in the dark – to board school buses. Why was that safe?

Perhaps it was “safe” because our school system was forced to cancel classes before they even began, thanks to Irene. Administrators always worry about being forced to extend school into the summer, to comply with Federal regulations.

I have no idea how safe it is out there. There seems to be way less damage than from Irene, at least in our town, but 20% of homes still lack power.

I mention all of this because it is harder to postpone Halloween than cancel school. Many kids appear ready to go out anyway, and many parents seem to be making independent judgments about whether their neighborhood is safe or not. That seems reasonable.

But most of all, it is hard to postpone Halloween when you don’t cancel school. Doing so makes folks scratch their heads. One resident posted this comment on a local news site, “And in other news, Town officials are urging parents to move Christmas to July as it will be less dangerous for travel with warmer temperatures and more daylight hours.”

Update 9:25 p.m. A new strategy emerges: kids who went trick or treating tonight, despite warnings, plan to go out again Saturday night. Sentiment shifts to favor government warnings.

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