The government cannot stop your children from asking the neighbors for candy Saturday evening — but most local officials don’t think it’s a good idea, urging would-be trick-or-treaters to celebrate Halloween a day early this year so as to avoid predicted thunderstorms.
Leaders of parishes throughout the metro area are urging residents to get their treat collecting out of the way Friday night.
The National Weather Service said Thursday it is expecting 2 to 4 inches of rain to fall across the region Saturday afternoon and evening.
“Local ghosts and goblins will likely not be happy with this forecast,” the service acknowledged.
The grim forecast by Thursday prompted city and parish officials throughout the area — except St. Tammany Parish — to ask residents to trick or treat Friday, when the weather is expected to be much clearer.
“This is a matter of safety. We don’t want any of our youngsters out in dangerous weather that reduces visibility and affects motorists as well,” said Mike Yenni, Kenner’s mayor and president-elect of Jefferson Parish.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office suggested that trick-or-treaters head out on Friday “between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.”
“Residents should remain indoors during heavy rainfall unless an emergency makes it absolutely necessary for them to get on the road,” the mayor’s statement said.
On the other hand, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne was at pains to avoid coming off like a big-government type. “I do not feel that government has the legal authority to officially ‘move’ what is only a customary event,” he said, though he did recommend that trick-or-treating be done a day early “based on safety factors.”
Acknowledging that many residents have made plans for Saturday, Champagne said his agency would have more deputies than usual on duty both Friday and Saturday.
St. Tammany Parish remained a holdout. The parish Facebook page carried the message, “Halloween will remain Saturday,” under a picture of smiling jack-o’-lanterns.
It followed up Thursday with a statement saying it would let residents “determine individually when they would like to conduct Halloween festivities,” while warning them of the inclement weather expected Saturday.
Likewise, the Slidell Police Department on its Facebook page said it was “going to remain optimistic about the weather on Saturday.”
“We are talking about the weather in South Louisiana!” it continued. “No one knows what it’s going to do.”
Mandeville canceled its “Halloween at the Trailhead” costume contest and concert scheduled for Saturday night but said in a Facebook message that it would not urge residents to move up trick-or-treating.
One resident chimed in to agree: “You can’t move a holiday.”