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Mt. Pleasant aims to thwart out-of-town trick-or-treaters with borough-issued bags

Renatta Signorini
| Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, 4:48 p.m.
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Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Trib photo
Mayor Jerry Lucia of the borough of Mt. Pleasant displays one of the trick-or-treat bags Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 at the Mt. Pleasant municipal building. The bags, which will be available for families to pick up at the police station or handed out at the fire station Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, are encouraged to be used for trick-or-treating in Mt. Pleasant borough on Oct. 29.
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Mayor Jerry Lucia of the borough of Mt. Pleasant displays one of the trick-or-treat bags Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 at the Mt. Pleasant municipal building. The bags, which will be available for families to pick up at the police station or handed out at the fire station Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, are encouraged to be used for trick-or-treating in Mt. Pleasant borough on Oct. 29.

Out-of-town Halloweeners, beware: there are no miniature Milky Ways or Tootsie Pops for you in Mt. Pleasant.

This year, trick-or-treaters have to carry special bags they pick up at the police department or fire station when they knock on borough doors for candy, said Mayor Jerry Lucia.

“Ever year, I get blasted with complaints that there's so many people from other areas” who are in town to collect treats, he said. “I'm only answering the complaints of the people.”

The first-time restriction is aimed at keeping children from outside the borough of 4,000 residents or neighboring Mt. Pleasant Township from trick-or-treating within borough limits. Lucia said after he and police Chief Doug Sam discussed the issue, they had Halloween-themed plastic bags printed with “Mt. Pleasant Police.”

Proof of residency isn't required to pick them up.

“Everyone in Mt. Pleasant has the right to come out and get a bag,” Lucia said.

The mayor said he has been getting complaints from residents for at least five years that non-residents descend on the borough for trick-or-treating, which will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 29. Several hundred costumed trick-or-treaters typically take to the streets, he said: “Several areas of town just get overwhelmed.”

In Jeannette, trick-or-treating traditionally is held on the Thursday before Halloween. Depending on the neighborhood, residents can see anywhere from a handful to as many as 200 or 300 trick-or-treaters, City Manager Michael Nestico said.

Neighborhoods across the nation and beyond have reported trick-or-treaters in staggering numbers over the past few years, infiltrating their streets like zombies in the night:

• In a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, one resident counted 978 kids on Halloween 2014, while another reported running out of candy at 800. The neighborhood's safe streets with little traffic are a draw for kids from other areas of the city, residents speculated, as well as their increasingly elaborate Halloween decorations.

• Police in Glendale, Calif., curtailed trick-or-treating there a few years ago because of the high numbers and incidents of vandalism and underage drinking. One resident ran out of the 800 packages of candy she stockpiled by 7:30 p.m.

Youngwood Borough officials adjusted trick-or-treat time several years ago to coincide with neighboring municipalities, said manager Diane Schaefer. When it was scheduled on a weekday evening, “a lot” of costumed children would be out knocking on doors. But now, trick-or-treating is held on Halloween night, like neighboring Hempfield.

“We still get a good amount, but it has decreased,” Schaefer said.

In Mt. Pleasant, the official, borough-issued treat bags are available at the police station and will be handed out at the fire station Oct. 15 and 22.

There won't be any candy police out checking kids' bags during trick-or-treat, Lucia said. It will be up to residents whether to withhold treats from children without the proper bag, he said.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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