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Sunday trick-or-treating irks some local residents

[10/20/04]A decision not to move Halloween trick-or-treating from the day on which it falls, Sunday, has caused a stir among some Vicksburg residents.

“My kids trick or treat, and we’re Christian,” said Mindy Hall, who has three children and is a member of Highland Baptist Church. “Having Halloween on a Sunday makes families make a choice, and that’s not fair.

“Sunday is a day that should be left as a day for family, going to church and spent with God,” she said. “Families should not have to make a choice.”

Another Vicksburg resident also said trick-or-treating should be moved.

“Sunday night is just not a good night to have Halloween,” said Cindy Edwards. “People want to go to church, and it’s a school night.”

Edwards and her family typically celebrate the holiday with a hayride for children and a party with neighborhood friends.

“The kids have fun, and we have fun doing it,” she said. “It’s good wholesome fun.

“Now, people will either miss church activities or miss seeing the kids come around the neighborhood.”

The Rev. Matt Buckles, pastor of First Baptist Church, said his congregation had not voted on the issue, but that the church is having a fall festival, as many in town are, on Saturday for children.

“My personal belief is that it would be on Saturday,” he said. “I think that’s much better practically as well as spiritually; that way it doesn’t interfere with Sunday worship activities.”

Sunday evening services at his church on Cherry Street normally begin at 6 p.m., and trick-or-treat hours in the city and county are from 5 until 8 p.m.

Some public officials are split on the decision, also.

In a board meeting Monday, South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman proposed changing trick-or-treating to Saturday. Mayor Laurence Leyens abstained from the vote; and North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young voted against the motion.

“I think back to when I was a kid and it fell on a Wednesday or Saturday, we didn’t get to go because we went to church,” Beauman said. “I’m not into the witch hunts and I guess that’s just the way I was brought up.”

Police Chief Tommy Moffett agreed.

“I don’t believe in Halloween, and I don’t believe we should celebrate it,” he said. “It’s my personal belief that Halloween is a celebration of demons and witches.

“But from the public safety side, Halloween falls on a Sunday. I have to think about public safety and the resources we will have to provide. We have games on Friday and the parade and things downtown Saturday,” he said. “Our resources will be the least stretched on Sunday.”

Warren Central, Vicksburg and St. Aloysius are hosting games Friday night.

Last year, Halloween fell on a Friday, and because both Vicksburg High and Warren Central had home games, trick-or-treating was moved to Saturday, an action the City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved.

“This year, I’m staying out of it,” Leyens said.

He said he drew criticism last year for the change and said that if it was changed this year, he would hear from people also.

“This isn’t a city or county government thing. It’s a long-term traditional national holiday in our country, and I can’t help what day it lands on,” Leyens said.

He said the city is offering other options for families, including sponsoring a Harvest Festival for Thursday, Oct. 28, at City Park and a downtown parade and movie at the Vicksburg Convention Center on Saturday.

“It’s a no-winner for the city board,” Leyens said. “It’s way outside the realm of what city government is supposed to do.”