Communiqué from Rae : Preparing for Halloween

Rae GabelichBy Rae Gabelich, Long Beach 8th District Council Member

As we enter the fall season, our thoughts begin to turn to the series of holidays and celebrations. This year, there are many questions regarding the direction that we should go for Halloween and the traditional trick-or-treating experience.
Most of us remember this to be a holiday event centered for the most part on our younger children. Personally speaking, when my mother insisted that I accompany my younger sisters and miss my first high school dance, I was most upset. I believed, at the age of 13, that I was way too old to participate in trick-or-treating through our neighborhood.
Today, it has become a far different experience. Last year for one of our Long Beach neighborhoods, it was a nightmare. One that made national headlines across our country. It was not a situation to be proud of, but one that we struggle with a year later.
After attending a neighborhood meeting on the street where the melee occurred, along with North Division Police Commander Scott Robertson and 30-40 residents, there still were questions unanswered. However, there was agreement to minimize the evening’s events this year.
Some homes decorate so extravagantly that they could successfully compete against the frightening experience of Knott’s “Scary” Farm. For some, it has become a treasured tradition. For others it is the art of competition.
The discussion did circle around to the fact that perhaps this neighborhood tradition has grown beyond its boundaries. It may no longer be the wisest choice to create a venue that attracts not only our young children in costume, but people of all ages to share the haunted house experiences.
The suggestion being made by our police department, my office and a vote of those residents in attendance is for this year to downplay the extravagant designs. Instead, simply and symbolically do the following:
• Place a pumpkin in sight of the sidewalk area with your porch light turned on, if you choose to participate in the trick-or-treating for the youngsters.
• Turn your porch lights off at the reasonable hour of 7:30 p.m.
• Get together with the neighborhood children or enlist your child’s scout troop to create signs for each corner that will identify that trick-or-treating is for children and the hours are from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
I would suggest these signs be posted early in the month to get the message out to the public.
Our parks will be providing the Halloween events in 14 parks citywide for all ages to participate. This should be the venue for our teens and young adults—of course, families are welcome as well.
One other suggestion is for those neighborhoods that have established the reputation of giving out the ‘giant’ candy bars, save some of the expense (or make a donation to a worthy local cause) and buy the normal Halloween sized treats.
The park events are always looking for volunteers to staff the booths and help organize the festive chaos! If that is something you would like to participate in, please contact my office at 570-6685 for additional information.
When we stand together, we send the message that we will not allow intimidation to prevail. To honor the families whose lives were changed significantly, please stand with us and support the recommendations.
On a lighter note, our Historical Society of Long Beach has moved their 4900 boxes of memorabilia to their new home at 4260 Atlantic Avenue. Now they face the challenge to unpack and organize in time for their grand opening this November.
If you can volunteer some time to assist in this wonderful community addition, please contact the executive director, Julie Bartolotto, at (562) 424-2220.
For those neighborhoods that have not yet started their Neighborhood Watch program, please contact Veronica Servin at our field office for details at 570-1326. So many wait until an unfortunate situation takes place to organize this most effective program—be pro-active not reactive!
Be Well! Stay Involved!
Rae Gabelich

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