Some in Mt. Pleasant to defy Halloween bag policy
Many in Mt. Pleasant say the mayor's effort to keep out-of-town trick-or-treaters at bay is a frightful idea.
Others think the first-time distribution of authorized treat bags just for borough residents is warranted — to help deter hordes of candy seekers from neighboring communities during the designated trick-or-treat period, 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The debate has played out on social media and on some Mt. Pleasant front porches, where signs were visible this week conveying messages such as, “All trick-or-treaters are welcome!!”
“It's embarrassing,” Shannon Pologruto, a native Mt. Pleasant resident and mother of three, said of the treat-bag policy. “It upset me.
“If outsiders can come in and support all the businesses and the Mt. Pleasant Glass and Ethnic Festival and everything else, why can't trick-or-treaters come in? They should take it as a compliment that people want to come here and (trick-or-treat).”
She said many of her siblings and cousins, who moved away from Mt. Pleasant, have returned with their children to trick-or-treat as a family.
Pologruto said she intends to provide treats to any costumed kid who knocks at her door, with or without an official bag.
Mt. Pleasant officials have said proof of residency isn't required to pick up one of the authorized bags, which read, “Mount Pleasant Police,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the fire hall, and that it will be up to residents to check if treat-seekers have the bags and to decide if they will hand out sweets.
As of Thursday, Mayor Jerry Lucia reported, the borough had distributed more than 500 of the 650 bags it prepared.
Though he's been the butt of mocking online posts, Lucia said he has no regrets about initiating the bag policy. He said the policy was a response to complaints from some neighborhoods in the town of 4,000 that have been overwhelmed when several hundred costumed visitors knock on doors.
“I've taken the heat, and I will continue to take the heat on it,” Lucia said of the policy. “It's a trial-and-error situation, so we'll see what happens. When you experiment with something of this nature, you go with it.”
Sharon Palmer, who said health concerns may curtail her ability to give treats this year, is among residents with disdain for the new bag policy.
“I think it's a shame,” she said. “It's supposed to be a free country. This borough is just getting ridiculous.
“Let the children alone. Maybe they live in an area where there are no houses around.”
Though she enjoyed trick-or-treating three days in a row during her youth, neighbor Susan Pyda supports use of the bags. She said the growing crush of trick-or-treaters at her door caused her to stop providing Halloween goodies several years ago.
“You had to have a couple hundred treats,” she said. “There's a lot of elderly people who don't have the money.”
Dawn Firestone agreed the bag policy was a reasonable response to excessive numbers of treat-seekers but said none will be turned away at her Mt. Pleasant home.
“I can't refuse a child a piece of candy,” she said. “That's ridiculous.”
She takes her two children, ages 9 and 11, to her native Connellsville to seek treats but said they enjoy returning the favor by providing treats to Halloween visitors at their doorstep.
“They have fun doing it,” she said.