By a lucky turn of the calendar, Haverhill kids will trick-or-treat on Halloween this year.
Most years, Haverhill kids go door-to-door on the final Saturday of October, regardless of the date or its proximity to the holiday. This year, Halloween — Oct. 31 — falls on the last Saturday of the month, meaning Haverhill kids will trick-or-treat on the same day as kids in neighboring communities.
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If it were up to the Haverhill police, trick-or-treat would always occur on the actual holiday, said police Capt. Michael Wrenn.
Police schedule extra shifts on trick-or-treat night as well as Halloween, Wrenn said.
The extra patrols on trick-or-treat night are to make sure children are safe while going house-to-house, and the extra shifts on Halloween are needed because of the celebrations planned by adults to enjoy the holiday.
Having to schedule extra shifts on two separate days is difficult given staffing levels, Wrenn said. If trick-or-treat occurred on Halloween, it would be easier to fill the extra shifts.
Wrenn said police are not concerned that children would be in harm's way by trick-or-treating on the same night that adults are out celebrating the holiday. Trick-or-treat hours, at 5 to 7 p.m., are over long before adult activities begin, he said.
The Haverhill City Council voted in 1996 to ban trick-or-treating on Halloween in favor of the last Saturday in October, according to The Haverhill Gazette's archives. The reasons were varied, including safety and eliminating the activity on a school night.