Williamstown adds half-hour to Halloween

WILLIAMSTOWN – Williamstown has added a half-hour to its trick-or-treat event following a number of complaints on social media, the mayor said Friday.

“Social media has a way of giving people an outlet that I don’t think is acceptable,” said Mayor Jean Ford. “But an additional half an hour will not make a difference to trick-or-treat.”

Ford said a Williamstown city employee posted about the city council’s decision to trim the Halloween program to an hour on his Facebook account and more than 30 people have left “nasty” comments.

“They are being mean and attacking me, which just isn’t right,” she said.

On Tuesday evening, council unanimously approved making the city’s trick-or-treat an hour-long instead of the usual hour-and-a-half to two hours following Ford’s suggestion of the change during the Sept. 17 council meeting.

“The reason we decided in the first place to change it is because we are a small community that is often over-run by children from other communities,” Ford said. “I was trying to protect our town from this and give our children a more quiet evening.”

Williamstown will now hold trick-or-treat from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, while Marietta will hold its from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the same evening.

Ford has advocated for a unified Halloween event for several years as Williamstown follows Marietta, which has an ordinance that states the city will hold trick-or-treat the last Saturday of October of each year, to keep children from traveling across the river.

Belpre, Parkersburg and Vienna will hold trick-or-treat Oct. 31. Times are currently unknown.

Ford said residents should attend city council meetings, which are held at 7:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month in council chambers of the West Fifth Street city building, to air grievances of city matters.

“Social media is not the place,” she said. “Council has public meetings for a reason, and if people have an issue with something, they need to come to council to discuss it.”