The weather forecast is playing tricks on the Halloween calendar across southeastern Louisiana.
In some places, authorities held trick-or-treat hours Thursday before Saturday’s All Hallow’s Eve, Oct. 31.
In parts of Acadiana, such as Opelousas, Mamou and Basile, kids have already trooped out in costume for loads of goodies. Good for them.
But the approach of strong storms forecast for Saturday, the official holiday, gave pause to local officials whose job it is to keep children and adults safe.
In the Baton Rouge area, Mayor-President Kip Holden got the ball rolling, saying that the forecast for Saturday is not only rain but potentially dangerous lightning.
“This is not a decision I take lightly,” Holden said. “However, our first priority must always be keeping everyone, especially our children, safe.”
While children will be out from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, organizers of a Halloween parade changed their parade time to 9:30 a.m. in downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday, still going forward with that event, but just at an earlier time.
Holden’s announcement led other communities to agree, and now the greater New Orleans area has also embraced the shift.
Jefferson Parish made the call Thursday morning “due to the expectation of inclement weather and subsequent concerns,” a news release said. The parish recommended that trick-or-treating be moved to Friday. Across the region, other parishes and cities agreed.
We think that the authorities across our part of the state have made the right call.
But state officials also noted that Halloween is an adult holiday, as well, and last year it was one of the most dangerous.
There were 435 total crashes involving either deaths or injury over the four-day Halloween holiday in 2014 — more than any other four-day holiday last year and the same number as the five-day Christmas holiday. Forty-eight of last year’s Halloween crashes involved alcohol. Ten people died, and 761 were injured.
Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director John LeBlanc said Halloween’s uniqueness adds to its risk, because it is celebrated in the dark, and there are many pedestrians. Adult beverages further increase the threat of collisions involving pedestrians, so those should also be avoided.
Given the threat of bad weather, we would urge all of those who are dressing up for Halloween — whatever the age — to use extra care during a weekend of severe weather.