Trick-or-treaters in Indianapolis, like kids in other Indiana communities as well as Kentucky and Ohio, will have to put off their annual quest for candy until Friday, the day after Halloween, because of fears of strong storms, 60-mph winds and the danger of falling trees in a wide swath of the region.
Al Larsen, spokesman for the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday that officials decided to make the switch "for the safety of those that are going to be out and about," the Indianapolis Star reports. In Carmel, Ind., city spokeswoman Nancy Heck noted that there is no local ordinance to mandate such a move, but that the police department is suggesting a switch to Friday night for Halloween revelers.
"We anticipate that there will be some confusion as Halloween falls on Oct. 31 and some youth or families may participate on this nationally recognized holiday regardless of the weather," Heck said in her statement. "It is ultimately up to the families on which day they would like to trick or treat." The Weather Channel's severe weather expert Greg Forbes predicts a "big area of damaging wind gusts, and maybe even some tornadoes, anywhere from eastern Wisconsin to the lower peninsula of Michigan, all the way down into the Midwest into the Mississippi Valley into parts of Texas."
With bad weather on the way, almost two dozen Indiana communities have moved the annual Halloween outing to Friday. George Kehl, police chief in Fishers, Ind., northeast of Indianapolis, changed the town's trick-or-treating to Friday because of the high probability of severe storms. Kehl said he "believes this change will help ensure the safety of all that choose to participate in this tradition."
The mayor of Evansville, Ind., and the county commissioner of Vanderburgh County do not set official hours for Halloween, but they are recommending postponing trick-or-treating by one day, the Evansville Courier & Press reports. The Indiana State Fairgrounds will keep its Thursday schedule, but move its trick-or-treat event inside in the event of bad weather.
Indiana is particularly sensitive to weather concerns since seven people died in an accident at the Indiana State Fair in 2012 when a storm blew down equipment at an outdoor Sugarland concert. In Kentucky, city officials in Winchester have put off trick-or-treating events to Friday, The Winchester Sun reports. Mayor Everette Varney of Georgetown, Ky., who postponed trick-or-treating in the central Kentucky town by one day, says wind gusts forecast for the area could endanger children, WKYT-TV reports.
"If we make any mistakes we're going to error on the side of caution and safety," he said. In northwest Ohio, the threat of severe weather has already prompted some communities to switch their trick-or-treat plans. Elmore, Genoa, Wauseon, Woodville, Pandora and Oak Harbor are among several municipalities that have decided to push their celebrations to the weekend, northwestohio.com reports. City officials in Toledo, however, say Halloween activities will go on as planned on Thursday, despite the weather forecast.
Contributing: Dan Feely of the Indianapolis Star