BERLIN — Even with crowds reaching potentially record-breaking sizes, reports from Berlin indicate that Halloween went off without a hitch this year. Despite the steady growth of the event, officials aren’t planning much as far as changing or expanding the holiday, believing they currently have a winning formula.
“I don’t anticipate any changes,” said Mayor Gee Williams.
Williams has jokingly referred to Berlin as “the mecca of Halloween” in the past and points to this year’s event as further proof. While the town itself doesn’t sponsor any events directly, it helps promote those being hosted by partners throughout the community, giving residents a lot of options, according to Police Chief Arnold Downing.
“So many different things are going on at different times,” he said.
When asked if the town might look to sponsor festivities directly in the future, Williams pointed out that it was up to non-profit groups within the community to create and run events. Though the town won’t be pulling the strings, Williams acknowledged that any workable ideas coming from area non-profits will be entertained by the town and could be added to the schedule of holiday events, such as Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services’ Haunted Hallway events for adults and children.
“Obviously we’ll try to work with [the groups],” he said.
Williams also addressed the possibility of altering or otherwise expanding trick-or-treat hours in town. For many years, the official time period to trick-or-treat in Berlin has been from 5-7 p.m. Halloween night. However, this only leaves a small amount of time to trick-or-treat once it actually becomes dark, usually around 6:30. Members of the community have grumbled about the timing in the past, with some noting that Halloween is, traditionally, a post-sundown activity, at least to a degree.
Williams sees no issues with the current hours and believes having the majority of trick-or-treating done during daylight is an important safety precaution.
“It’s very important we look out for [children’s] safety,” he said, citing the improved visibility of daytime trick-or-treating.
Downing also felt that expanding the current hours would be a case of fixing something that isn’t broken.
“It doesn’t seem to make too much sense,” he said.
This year, like past years, nearly every member of the Berlin Police Department (BPD) was on hand to facilitate trick-or-treating. While Downing doesn’t think stretching the event until after dark would impact the BPD’s ability to monitor children, he did remark that it could be taxing on parents and residents.
“[Two hours] is a long period of time for them to put on a show,” said Downing.
While he believes that those who live in town are generally glad to get caught up in the spirit of the holiday, he explained that adding another hour or two might be pushing it.
“The residents themselves were totally worn out [by the end],” he said.
Downing added that even though trick-or-treating is officially done at 7 p.m., “no one got turned away,” with the BPD only reminding those on the streets the event was winding down.
According to Downing, upwards of 3,000 visitors likely walked through Berlin on Monday. The crowd is even more impressive considering Halloween fell on a school night this year. Even if the event should get larger, Downing is confident that the crowd will “self-regulate” itself without needing to add more trick-or-treating hours.
“It’s worked for 20 years,” he said.