Charlotte-area children will be able to trick-or-treat Thursday evening without worrying about the weather, conflicts with football games, or even anyone telling them to celebrate Halloween on another night.
And students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools don’t even have to worry about getting to bed early. They don’t have classes Friday.
Unlike the recent past, the region’s cities and towns appear to be taking a hands-off approach on when to observe Halloween, which means most children will don costumes and seek candy Thursday evening.
Some children got a jump on the whole trick-or-treating thing. Several business organizations in towns across the region and a number of churches held fall festivals last weekend. And other churches plan events Wednesday night, as part of their midweek schedule.
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Idlewild Baptist Church in Matthews, for example, will hold a fall festival with a hayride and games Wednesday night.
And some towns and businesses will have alternate celebrations Thursday night. Birkdale Village in Huntersville, SouthPark Mall, the City of Lancaster, and downtown merchants in Concord and Rock Hill are among groups sponsoring festivals. Butler High School’s student groups will hold trunk-or-treating from 4-6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Matthews school. Children who attend will receive candy from high school students also in costume.
For those choosing the traditional Oct. 31 observance, the weather won’t be a problem. A strong cold front will be approaching the Charlotte region, but National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Horne says the area’s children will get a break.
“We expect precipitation chances to increase rapidly Thursday night, but not until after the Halloween events are finished,” Horne says. “For Thursday evening, it will be increasingly cloudy and quite mild. Temperatures likely will be in the upper 60s during trick-or-treating.”
Local police departments say they will patrol neighborhoods, and they ask motorists to use caution during the evening.
“Watch for children darting out from behind parked cars,” advises Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones. “And enter your driveway in a slow manner. Be watching for children.”
Law enforcement officials have spent much of October updating their list of addresses for registered sex offenders. North Carolina law forbids registered sex offenders from handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, and police say they will be especially watchful for any violations of the law.
Even the scholastic football schedule has been adjusted. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s middle schools typically play their football games on Thursday evenings, but not this year.
Middle school games – such as the showdown between two undefeated teams, Piedmont Middle and host Mint Hill Middle – will be played Wednesday evening.
The celebration won’t even end with Halloween. A number of the region’s themed events, such as haunted trails and corn mazes, will continue through this weekend. That includes some of Charlotte’s most popular annual events, including Scarrigan Farms in Mooresville, the Amazing Maize Maze at Rural Hill in Huntersville, and the Haunted Mill in Belmont.
The big winners this Halloween might be CMS students. Friday is a teacher workday, set aside for parent-teacher conferences at the end of the first quarter. That means no classes – and a chance for children to stay up late on Halloween night.