Two Park Layne residents addressed the Bethel Township Trustees at their Thursday, September 12 meeting, questioning the date of Beggar’s Night.

“I think that you guys should consider changing the time back to the Saturday before [Halloween],” said Tonya Campbell, citing the fact that New Carlisle and Donnelsville have set Trick or Treat for Saturday, October 26.

“It’s worked in the past for 20-some years, the Saturday before, and I think you should consider moving it,” she added.

Sheriff Deb Burchett has set Beggar’s Night for Thursday, October 31 from 6—8 p.m. for the county, citing her desire to keep it the same night as neighboring counties.

The City of New Carlisle and the Village of Donnelsville have set Beggar’s Night for Saturday, October 26 from 6-8 p.m.

“One thing in common with all of those places is that they are incorporated areas,” said Trustee Nancy Brown. “If you are incorporated, you can do anything you want, as long as there isn’t a law against it. If you are not incorporated, you can’t do anything unless there is a law authorizing it.”

Brown said that there was no law authorizing Trustees to set a night for Beggar’s Night.

“I talked to the Prosecutor’s office the other day,” said Trustee Don Minton. “There is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code about Halloween.”

Minton then suggested that the Trustees change the date. Brown then said, “We don’t have the authority to do that.”

In a response to our e-mail request for clarification, Chief Deputy Jeff Meyer said that there is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code authorizing the Sheriff to set the day and time for Beggar’s Night. “This is only a tradition that we ‘inherited’ from the previous administration,” Meyer said.

He said that the number of phone calls and Facebook messages are evenly split between those in favor of the date the Sheriff has set and those opposed to it.

Donna Campbell, Tonya’s mother, expressed concern that parents wouldn’t be able to get home form work, get the kids fed and dressed in costumes in time for a 6:00 start. She added that 8:00 is bedtime for a lot of kids. Minton said he has heard the same thing from area residents.

Donna Campbell asked if the Trustees could ask the Sheriff to change the date.

In a text message the next day, Brown informed us that she had called the Sheriff’s office and learned that the Sheriff will not change the date.

“The community should be able to set the date,” said Donna Campbell.  “What would happen if the people in Park Layne, Medway and Crystal lakes said, ‘you know what? Huh-uh. We’re going to do it on the 26th.’ What would happen then?”

“It would happen on the 26th,” said Phares. “My thought would be to put a committee together if you want to do that. Make signs. Put them all over the township. Don’t just put it on Facebook.”

Donna Campbell said that the committee idea is “right up my alley.”

Bethel Township Trustees have a work session set for Thursday, September 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Bethel Township Fire Station on Lake Rd. The public is welcomed at all Bethel Township Trustee meetings.

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