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Dire weather forecasts and government intervention created a scary pattern of miscommunication this Halloween. You didn’t know when and if you should send out your children to trick or treat, and you looked to your elected leaders to make that parenting decision.
Thus when public judgment stepped into personal arena there, was more bad information flying around than witches and ghosts in the blustery breezes. What we had here was a frightening inability for the right persons to make the right decisions.
That would be except for two people: Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger and Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden.
Mr. Rothenburger and Mr. Eden seemed to understand that Halloween is on Oct. 31, and establishing that fact, then truly it is a parental judgment about what is an acceptable time, place and conditions in which children should venture into the streets, just like with every other day and every other event.
This situation was muddled in the city of Shelbyville, where an ill-conceived and unwarranted ordinance passed in 1999 establishes that Halloween will be celebrated between 5 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 31, unless that date falls on a Sunday, when the celebration activities would move to Saturday.
It was from that foundation that the city on Wednesday set aside its ordinance by executive order – if that even is legal – and moved the celebration hours to Friday night, following similar announcements in other nearby municipalities.
That third parties got involved with public dissemination of incorrect information only further muddled a situation that should not have been muddled in the first place.
First, the weather forecast, though stormy, was just that – a forecast – and except for some early drizzle, the typical hours for trick or treating on Thursday were certainly no problem. A parent or guardian could have looked out the window and made that decision.
Second, the hours the city establishes – 5 to 7 p.m. – are not appropriate for many families with working parents because of tight schedules that time frame requires, or even are they sufficient to meet the spirit of Halloween when Daylight Savings Time is in place. Isn’t the dusk/dark a big part of the fun for the kids and an enhancement for the decorations?
Third, there were an amazing number of adults who didn’t understand that they could make a personal decision and who didn’t know if they lived in the city or if the county superseded the city and or even how that oversight worked.
Yes, all of this created a scary tub of goo on many levels. There was nothing frightening about the weather until after 10 p.m. on Thursday. In fact, it was more of the sort that makes Halloween the legend that it is.
We hope this morass did provide a learning experience that in the future can be avoided by leaving parenting to parents. This is not a matter for government.
And that’s why we congratulate Mr. Rothenburger and Mr. Eden for staying the path of logic and letting a non-public holiday be the milieu of the family.