Emmaus Teen May Start Petition to Move Trick-or-Treat Night

Shawn Billy says that the traditional Thursday night trick-or-treating done in Emmaus interferes with his ability to do his homework.

Shawn Billy didn’t come to last night’s meeting with a mission, but he left with one.

The 16-year-old Emmaus resident attended the meeting with the rest of Boy Scout Troop 80 to fulfill a requirement of the Boy Scout citizenship merit badge. All the boys had to do to meet the requirement was to sit through a government meeting.

Billy, however, was moved to get up and address Emmaus Mayor Winfield Iobst and council in the latter half of the meeting, when the public is invited to address council for a second time.

Billy’s question for council: “Why is trick-or-treat night always on Thursday night instead of Friday or Saturday like other areas?”

Earlier in the meeting Iobst read Proclamation 2011-298 declaring Thursday, Oct. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. trick-or-treat night in Emmaus. In response to Billy’s question the mayor said that in his 14 years as mayor there had been about three people who had asked to trick-or-treat on a different day.

“I’m an old Dutchman,” Iobst said. “We don’t like to change things.” He added that trick-or-treat night in Emmaus had been on a Thursday night for pretty much as long as anyone could remember.

Several council members echoed this sentiment, saying that there are lots of theories on why the annual candy-collecting holiday is celebrated on Thursday in the borough, but no one knows for sure.

Billy pressed on: “So there is not a specific answer, it’s is just ‘that’s how it is?’”

Councilman Brent Labenberg, who said he has lived in the borough his whole life, attempted to offer Billy a more concrete answer. He said that he always thought that trick-or-treat wasn’t scheduled on Fridays because that would interfere with football.

After the meeting, Billy, who attends Central Catholic High School, said that he is taking several Advanced Placement classes this year and trick-or-treating on Thursday night will interfere with his ability to do his homework.

“I would like to not be stressed,” he said. “I would like to go trick-or-treating, but I would like to get my homework done instead of rushing.”

Billy said that he wasn’t entirely satisfied with the answer he got from the mayor and council, calling it “indecisive, not really a definitive answer.

“I think I might try to start a petition,” Billy said.

Hawks42 October 18, 2011 at 03:08 PM
You know when you are too old for trick or treating when you complain about having to study for AP classess... I would like to see trick or treat night to be held on Halloween. If not then, I don't see any problem with keeping it on the traditional Thursday. It's only one school night out of the whole year.
Matt October 18, 2011 at 03:29 PM
oh waa the little 16 year old can't trick or treat tough cookies, i grew up in emmaus and never had a problem with thurs as trick or treat, maybe he shouldn't have taken the advanced placement classes then he wouldn't be so stressed, and maybe if he went to an emmaus school somebody might care BUT he goes to Central Catholic take up your homework stuff with them, and besides how does he know that he is gonna have homework that night, if he can see into the future why is he in school.
Josh Popichak (Editor) October 18, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Wow. I've heard of Friday night, Sunday afternoon and Halloween Day (or night) for Trick-or-Treat, but never a Thursday night. It's fascinating how some traditions have developed in small towns over the years.
Emmaus 4 Life October 18, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Change the date and add an age limit. How about those parents with infants who have a bag for the baby?? Gee, the candy will be stale by the time the baby has enough teeth to eat it;)
Mom of DnNnD October 18, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Both of my children can get their homework done and still go trick-or-treating and make it to bed on time. It's called time management. Also, this whole thing of having Halloween on a different night is just DUMB! Why don't we just change Christmas to a better season when traveling won't be as dangerous (in case of snow). If every town had trick-or-treating on the same night, it may end the busing of other kids into different towns. Right now, I could go to Emmaus on Thursday, Upper Macungie on Friday and another town on Halloween. Whoo hoo! 3 towns.
danielson October 18, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Change it and my decorations don't go up and NO candy goes out!, and I'm " the COOL house"
LM Resident October 18, 2011 at 06:02 PM
that's ok. most decorations are tacky anyway. Save the money and donate it to a worthy cause--Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program, the Salvation Army or any other organization the will benefit children.
Patricia Ziegler-Boccadoro October 18, 2011 at 09:37 PM
I've lived in the Lehigh Valley for 10 years now and I'm still amazed how you could literally Trick-or-Treat for a week up here. Growing up in Philly we went Trick-or-Treating ON Halloween. There was no time set either. You went out when it got dark and returned home when your bag was full or people's porch lights were turned off.
Fran October 18, 2011 at 11:35 PM
I've been handing out candy for years but i made up my mind that last year was my last. I'm tired of all the High School kids coming with pillow cases to hold their candy plus all the parents dropping off their kids from other towns. Their look in the paper and see the list of when each town has Trick or Treat and they probably visit them all.
Beth October 19, 2011 at 12:22 AM
I'm all for changing it to Halloween night!! I think it's absurd to have it on a night other than that. I too am not sure why he is that interested in trick-or-treating at that age, but good for him for wanting to make a change and actually doing something about it.
Sue Adams October 19, 2011 at 11:54 AM
I always thought that the logic behind having trick-or-treat on a Thursday night was specifically because it is a school night and might help to limit the amount of mischief. Yes, kids need to do their homework. It's no different from having sports or scouts on a school night.
Heather N. October 19, 2011 at 01:41 PM
I just think it's silly to have trick-or-treating on any night other than Halloween, regardless of the day of the week. Halloween is on October 31st, not October 27th. I have lived in other parts of Pennsylvania, five other states, and overseas, and I never heard of trick-or-treating on a night other than Halloween until I moved here. (Also, while I like the young man's idea, I agree that the treat-seeking should be left for the little ones.)
Kate Ruch October 19, 2011 at 02:14 PM
My opinion is leave it alone. My question to Shawn is: Are your Boy Scout Meetings on a school night? And is the Council Meeting on a school night? And, at 16, you're complaining about Trick or Treating on a school night? Really?
Kate Ruch October 19, 2011 at 02:23 PM
LM Resident... bah humbug to you! Cool Halloween decorations are way better than any other holiday. Got forbid if anyone does anything fun - somehow that makes them selfish? If Danielson likes to decorate for Halloween, who the heck are you to tell him he should be donating money instead. It's not like people have to repurchase decorations every year. Once and done... maybe add some new stuff. I appreciate people with a passion for holidays. Especially Halloween. This country would be pretty dull without it.
jeff shubzda October 19, 2011 at 03:37 PM
That is a good point. I think its hard to put age limits on such a thing, that should fall back on the parents to advise their children that they are too old.
LM Resident October 19, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Make a law for an age limit? just what we need--more legislation on common sense issues. It is the parents responsibility and they should be putting a stop to the teenage trick or treating. Oh wait---most parents are no more responsible than your average teenager anymore---if they were, we wouldn't be having discussions like this.
Kate Ruch October 19, 2011 at 04:22 PM
I really think giving teenagers a hard time about trick or treating is rather harsh. For the well behaved (non-mischief) types, it's a chance to finally go trick-or-treating without parents and still get to dress up and be kids. Everybody is always complaining that kids don't get to be kids long enough, but they then complain about them when they still want to act like kids. If they are well-behaved and polite, please remember this when they come to your door and don't get mad at them for actually trying to hold on to their youth a little longer! It's one of the few times they actually WANT to, willingly!
Pamela October 19, 2011 at 07:20 PM
I totally agree!!! It is a disgrace to see these teenagers still trick or treating and the car loads of kids that get dropped off... The van pulls up and 7 or 8 kids jump out.. And we are the ones paying their welfare! ridiculous
Craig Neely October 19, 2011 at 08:20 PM
I heard a lot of speculation over the years about why Emmaus's trick-or-treat night is always on a Thursday, and not on Halloween Night. As a kid, we used to think it was because it wasn't supposed to conflict with home football games. I also heard what Sue Adams heard--that it is to minimize the opportunity for mischief. I heard a new one today--"back in the day," ie '40's and 50's, all of the downtown businesses were open on Thursday nights and the kids would Trick-or-Treat at the downtown businesses. That comports with my recollection of the great Halloween "window paintings" that adorned the plate glass windows of the downtown businesses in the '60's and'70's. So, maybe there is merit to the explanation that focuses on the downtown busineses having played a role. Remember, in the '40's and '50's there was no Stryer Section, no Little Lehigh Acres, no Country Heights, and virtually no housing north of Berger Street, such that the Borough's population was much more concentrated near the downtown. There probably is some semblance of truth in all of these stories. In the end, though, by now, to us, it equates to what the Mayor said--It's always been this way. Craig Neely Craig Neely
An interested bystander October 19, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Thanks Craig. It's funny, we forget how the town grew since we were kids and how much wasn't here when decisions were made.
Sue October 19, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Kate, I appreciate and can accept most of what you said except the part about dressing up. Many of these older kids don't even make an attempt at a costume and they show up at my door with a pillow case.and then won't even say thanks. I have a problem with that. I won't be turning on my light this year.
Sue October 19, 2011 at 10:27 PM
"It's always been this way" doesn't necessarily make it right. I say put it to a vote and mine is for October 31st.
Craig Neely October 20, 2011 at 03:14 PM
I like Sue's idea--put it to a vote in one way or another. If the current schedling anomaly is simply a vestige of past circumstances that no longer exist, it should be reconsidered in favor of what people today want.
Emmaus 77 October 20, 2011 at 04:43 PM
Seriously, whatever happened to "traditions"......??
Kate Ruch October 20, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Good news - window painting will be back next year. Maybe the businesses should re-open also!
Kate Ruch October 20, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Sue - I did say "well-behaved" - that includes a costume & politeness. ;-)
L October 26, 2011 at 11:35 AM
And we wonder why childhood obestity is a problem.....kids from Macungie come to Emmaus and vice versa to take advantage of not ONE but TWO trick-or-treat nights. Like they really need all that candy....
Kate Ruch October 26, 2011 at 02:49 PM
L - at least they have to WALK to get their candy! PS, You can't blame Halloween for childhood obesity.
me October 27, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Kids should be trick or treating on Halloween October 31st having two hours ruins the fun for both young and old. People should lighten up and mind there own business Im happy to see older kids trick or treating you should enjoy the holiday weather your five or fifty its the perfect time to forget about the stresses of life and act like a kid things are always better left alone so we should lose all the restrictions and enjoy areselfs
LuAnn Fenstermaker Warfel-Cannan October 15, 2012 at 03:28 AM
I am so tired of Trick or Treat. In this day and age, do we really need it? For one, Halloween costumes are ridiculously expensive, and for a cheap piece of junk. Two, do most of us parents really want our kids to be indulged in a bag full of junk food and sweets? I let my kid have a few pieces then the rest goes in the trash. I don't like wasting my money for a costume for one night and I don't enjoy wasting everyone else's money they put out to buy the expensive candy that just gets thrown away. Eliminate this useless "holiday" altogether. I'm surprised Mrs Obama hasn't done so already... Ugh.


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