Tuesday’s village board meeting lasted all of 29 minutes, much of which was spent discussing Oak Lawn’s curfew for Halloween trick or treating.
Last year the curfew for trick or treating in the village was shortened to 7 p.m. after Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) said he received calls from a concerned parent that 8 p.m. was too long of a window for kids to be out running around in the dark.
Olejniczak also said that 8 o'clock was a little late for seniors to be opening their doors at night. Some parents complained on Patch that they couldn't get home from work until 6 p.m. Under Olejniczak’s proposal to end trick or treating at 7 p.m., by the time they arrived home and got kids changed into costumes Halloween would be over. Oak Lawn trustees voted 3-1 to cut back the hours from 3 to 7 p.m.
The ordinance caused otherwise law-abiding families to break the law. Patch received numerous reports from readers last year who admitted to staying out past 7 p.m. on Halloween.
The ordinance so exasperated Oak Lawn-resident Dan Lupesco—a self-described Halloween enthusiast that he and his wife married on Oct. 31 in costume—that he created a “Save Oak Lawn’s Halloween” Facebook page.
“If there are children out there committing crimes the police already have everything they need to arrest and prosecute them,” Lupesco said. “The ordinance doesn’t help police do anything more or less. Let’s take a moment to look at these issues instead of punishing these innocent kids and their parents. The hoodlums are going to do whatever they want to do regardless of this ordinance.”
Lupesco, who is planning to go as the Burgess Meredith-era Penguin from the 1960s Batman TV show, proposed that children out trick-or-treating past 7 p.m. must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
“There is an election coming up,” Lupesco said, dropping the magic e-word. “This could be a time that everybody can show they can work together and come to a compromise. A lot of people say this board can’t do that so maybe you can try to do that.”
Following the announcement of a Lederhosen contest offered at the Oak Lawn Raiders Social Club’s upcoming fundraiser at the Homestead Barr from 5 to 10 p.m. this Saturday--Trustee Cindy Trautsch (Dist. 1) said she put Halloween hours on the agenda because “we had so much controversy over it last year.”
“I had requested we put it on the agenda for this year so we could have a lot of discussion and input from the community,” she added. “It was kind of mish-mosh last year.”
Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2), who last year said he didn’t want to be known as the trustee that took Halloween away, thought Lupesco’s compromise was an excellent idea.
“I think the resident’s (Lupesco) input is invaluable,” Olejniczak said. “I know he loves Halloween and he’s passionate about it.”
Oak Lawn trustees unanimously voted 5-0 that trick-or-treating hours be extended from 3 to 8 p.m., requiring children age 10 and under to be accompanied by an adult between 7 and 8 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31.
After the meeting, Lupesco said he was happy that people were able to work together toward a compromise.
"Now I have to find a long nose that isn't a witch's nose. That's really hard," he said. "The Penguin had a long nose."