Is it time for a Halloween curfew in Ridgewood?

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Halloween curfew continues promoting safety

By Lara Webb Barrett

For My Community Trend

To ensure everyone has a safe, fun holiday, Merchantville has had a Halloween curfew in place for children under age 18 for the past few years.

Now a crime prevention officer, Sgt. Fred Koehler was a police officer in Merchantville for 25 years and said there is much good to come from the Halloween curfew ordinance.

The ordinance, which is posted on the Merchantville Borough Web site, mandates that children be indoors by 7 p.m. from Oct. 29 to 31.

“The curfew has been on the books for some time now, and was adopted in 2003,” Koehler said.

Koehler discussed the reasons for implementing the curfew.

“First and foremost is the safety of the younger kids and getting them off the street,” said Koehler. “In addition, we want to keep the older kids off the street; in previous years, many had been coming in from out of town.”

The curfew also serves to deter Halloween-time pranks like egg throwing and other vandalism.

“Our curfew extends to cover the Wednesday and Thursday night prior to Halloween, especially pertaining to the older kids, for Mischief Night,” Koehler said. “Camden had a very bad Mischief Night in the past, and since we are so close to Camden, we don’t want to have a similar problem.”

Thanks to the curfew, Koehler said that Merchantville has had minimal vandalism on Mischief Night, or the night before Halloween.

“We used to have problems with vandalism — and it’s decreased dramatically,” said Koehler. “You may see toilet paper in the trees here and there, which washes away with the rain. All other vandalism has been greatly curtailed.”

According to Koehler, the curfew is popular with area homeowners.

“The parents also like the curfew, because they can turn their lights off at 7 p.m., and if they hear someone outside or in their yard, they can have the police check them out — and our residents don’t feel like they are intruding,” he said. “I have had nothing but compliments from parents on the curfew ordinance.”

Children’s safety as they trick-or-treat remains a top priority for the curfew.

In addition to having parents check through Halloween treats, Koehler offers 10 tips to help make Halloween even safer for all children:

1. Keep front doors and walkways illuminated.

2. Remove any item from your yard or porch which can be easily broken or taken, such as pumpkins and milk cans.

3. Make sure all doors and windows are locked.

4. Use your “peephole” to see who is there before you open the door.

5. Younger children should trick-or-treat during daylight hours under adult or older child supervision.
If no adult or other children are available, try to have them go with a group of children to a specific location.

6. Do not allow children to go into homes of people they don’t know.

7. Warn your children about strangers and accepting gifts or candy from people on the street.

8. If your child encounters a stranger or is accosted in any manner, report it immediately to the police.

9. When entertaining trick-or-treaters, try to recognize who you are giving candy to.
If you can’t recognize the individual or feel uncomfortable, do not feel obliged to open the door or give them candy.

10. Be suspicious of older children who come to your home more than once. They may be casing your house.
Koehler urges that parents can never be too cautious, or use too much common sense.

“If a child brings home, say, a Milky Way bar that seems to have a hole in it or a tear, throw it away,” said Koehler. “The same with fresh fruits — inspect it, and if parents want to give it to them, cut it open to make sure there is nothing inside.”

“If in doubt, throw it out,” Koehler added. “You can always go to the grocery store to buy them candy or fruit that you feel is safe.”

  1. If Ridgewood EVEN thinks of this I will stand in the center of town, on an old fashioned soap box, and denounce our VC day in and day out.

    I will start a recall petition and raise funds to have them all defeated at election time.

    Enough of this pussy ass shit.

  2. I think the kids should not go outside for Halloween at all and everyone should mail candy to all of the children in the village.

    Better yet, let’s raise the taxes on those making more than $250,000… I mean $200,000… I mean $150,000… I mean $42,000 and take a portion of that money to send candy to all of the children whose parents don’t pay any taxes.

    Better yet, let’s make it a healthy snack… better yet, let’s make it a nice arugula sandwich with some bottled water… better yet let’s make it a hot meal… better yet let’s bus them to a catered Halloween party (hmmm… we’ll need to increase taxes again to support this effort, but it is the right thing to do)

    Maybe we just bag the catered party, pocket the tax increase and just give the kids a block of cheese for Halloween.

    Yup… that’ll do it.
    I fell so much better now for doing such a good thing.

    I am special. My mother was right.

  3. great idea for a curfew. and if you dont like it..then go clean up the mess your brats made last nite

  4. 1126 Zeik Heil Mein Fuhrer!

  5. 11:26 I would be more in favor of having the parents of the “brats” clean up their crap!

  6. I guess some of us are a bit cranky, huh?

    Gee, like this is the first time any one has used toilet paper to decorate the environs on Devil’s Night.

    Get a life, where’s your sense of humor?

  7. curfews cameras ? was there a change of goverment ?

  8. toilet paper?

    Are you kidding? TP is the PC mischief tool of choice!

    Back in my day…
    we used to throw eggs at houses and set bundles of dog poop on fire on the porch.

  9. I know, 2:57 people get their undies in a knot over toilet paper.

    We used to wax windows and door screens of people we really didn’t like, egg cars, all sorts of stuff that would get you tossed in the slammer now-a-days.

    TP is biodegradable, and kinda pretty when it streams down from trees in the light of the night.

    So, the folks upset really have nothing to be upset about as long as kids are not destructive. So what’s the big deal?

  10. My street was tp’d rather nicely.
    The delinquents did an artful job…very straight and full.
    It looked prety as I drove home at night. Happy it wasn’t eggs and shaving cream all over the place.

  11. It’s more than just TP. Unfortunately, there are a number of groups of kids that, once together in a pack, become destructive. If the kids could show us they could handle this without getting out of control, then fine, stay out. Unfortunately most of these kids just can’t. As residents we shouldn’t be punished for groups of unruly children. It’s just not ok.

  12. 9:03 AM –

    Let’s form a government task force to investigate the situation and then tax those rich bastards and open a holiday youth center for the kids where they can engage in harmless activities like filling out fraudulent voter registration cards or painting scary Halloween pictures of McCain and Palin.

    …and don’t forget to have the event catered and bus in the disadvantaged kids from the nearby cities and provide live entertainment.

  13. You people are moorons. Lets be realistic. Halloween and Cabbage Night is a time for kids to have fun and enjoy themselves. Yes, a curfew should be in place but 7 o’clock! What do you think highschoolers are going to do? They are just going to break the curfew law and go out and get in trouble for now reason. How about a 10:30 curfew? That is ideal fro everyone.

  14. How about parents become responsible for their own kids and enforce parental curfews??

    Hmmm? How ’bout dat?

  15. I do not live in your area (thank god)(but I do enjoy your blog) but I will tell you I think the curfew idea stinks for the most part I like the 10:30 curfew. I remember when I was young we trick or treated till 9 and then stayed out to compare candy and get even with those who gave out crappy candy or any kind of “good for you crap” that was where the TP and eggs came in. For those that like the 7 curfew please it is one day that kids can be kids anymore let them have some fun. For those who think we should all lighten up I say we get a sign that tells all the kids who plan to TP, egg, or what was the other oh yeah light dog poop on fire and send them all to your houses letting them know that you all wont mind cleaning up the mess seeing how it is so pretty and all. I think that as parents we should teach our children better then that. It may be fun at the time but it would not be so fun if it was your house. I am however of the opinion that the TP is not so bad give them all a roll and tell them to decorate the town. heck try it your self you may find it is fun.

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