Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 20, 2012

Halloween controversy Commissioners spook Mercer communities

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— Here we go again. Considering all of the problems we have in Mercer County right now, you would think our three elected county commissioners could do something more than change the date of Halloween, and spook several towns and communities in the process.

Nope. Instead of hiring a county administrator who could search for grant funding and jobs, instead of tackling a leash law to address the county’s animal problem and instead of getting on the phone or in the vehicle in search of new businesses and jobs, our commissioners instead have decided to change the date of Halloween from Oct. 31 to Oct. 30. And in the process they have once again hit a nerve with citizens across the county while also creating a frightful controversy just in time for the scariest holiday of the year.

Now the greater Bluewell and Brushfork communities are planning to ignore the commission’s mandate and proceed with Halloween on Oct. 31 instead of Oct. 30. And the community is asking the commissioners to reconsider their decision to change the date of Halloween. The town of Oakvale also is sticking with Oct. 31 for Halloween.

 The city of Princeton attempted to reach out to the county commission for input on whether or not to change Halloween from Oct. 31 to Oct. 30 after receiving a request from the Greater Princeton Ministerial Association to move the holiday to avoid conflict with Wednesday night church services. But guess what? The commissioners never contacted the city to provide meaningful input, according to Princeton Mayor Patricia “Pat” Wilson.

The city of Bluefield has also decided to stick with Halloween on Oct. 31. Changing the date of Halloween normally results in a lot of confusion, according to Bluefield Mayor Linda Whalen.

Good grief! It sure sounds like our county — and its elected officials — are certainly not all on the same page. We talk about regional unity and cooperation all of the time. How hard would it be for the county commission, the two cities, and the various communities across Mercer County to try to agree on a single day for Halloween.

Now we are going to have children trick-or-treating across Mercer County not one day — but two days. That’s right. Halloween will now be observed — depending upon what part of Mercer County you live in — on both Tuesday, Oct. 30, and Wednesday, Oct. 31.

That’s not only scary, it’s also ridiculous. And we believe the blame for this mess rests solely with our three elected county commissioners. How hard would it be for the commissioners to work with the two cities, and the communities and towns across Mercer County, in setting one day for Halloween? This isn’t rocket science we are talking about. It’s just a matter of picking up the telephone, and calling the different mayors, to make sure everyone is on the same page about when Halloween will be observed.

Unless this confusion is corrected — and corrected soon — motorists and law enforcement officers across Mercer County will have their hands full on both Oct. 30 and Oct. 31. Motorists will have to watch out for children on area roadways on both nights, and police will have to be out in full force to not only protect the kids both nights, but also to look out for pranksters.

Thank you Joe Coburn, Mike Vinciguerra and Jay Mills for creating this confusion.

We like Halloween too, but one night is enough. Halloween is now starting to look quite frightful thanks to your downright spooky decision.