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Could Trick-or-Treating Be Rescheduled?

An evening activity ban remains in place for both Hamilton and Wenham and the forecast through Halloween does not show temperatures falling below freezing.

The Hamilton Board of Health is anticipated to consider on Wednesday whether the evening activity ban may be lifted before Halloween next week.

Trick-or-Treating traditionally happens from 5-8 p.m. on Halloween in both towns. But on Oct. 1, the Hamilton Board of Health put in place a ban on organized outdoor activities between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. - both publicly and privately organzied. The same is in place in Wenham, but extends just to publicly organized events.

The board's agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting at Hamilton Town Hall says it will get a "mosquito/EEE update" and hear resident complaints about the spraying and hear about the level of toxidity of the spray. When asked about the possible impact of the ban on Trick-or-Treating, Town Manager Michael Lombado said on Monday that "my understanding is that (the Board of Health) will be discussing this on Wednesday."

The board said when the activity ban was put in place that it required 28 degrees for four hours or longer to lift the ban. Early on Oct. 13, according to the National Weather Service.

The long range forecast does not show temperatures forecasted to go below freezing before Halloween. The National Weather Service forecast though Oct. 29 does not show an overnight low temperature predicted below 40 degrees.

Accuweather, which posts a 25 day forecast to its website, calls for the coldest temperatures overnight on Monday night and Tuesday morning, Oct. 29 and 30, to be 30 degrees.

The evening activity ban could also be lifted if the state lowers the town's risk level from "critical" - the highest level.

But state Department of Health spokeswoman Anne Roach said the department will not be lowering the risk level because a frost occured on Oct. 13, she said.

"(The) hard frost negated the need for risk levels as the threat of EEE was eliminated with the hard frost," she told Hamilton-Wenham Patch. "We have communicated this message to the local boards of health. Implementation of (Department of Public Health) recommendations are always left to the local community."

The possibility of the evening activity ban remaining in place on Halloween came up on the Hamilton-Wenham Facebook page on Monday afternoon, with several parents saying they would send their kids out to Trick-or-Treat even if the ban is still in place.

After the cold overnight temperatures on Oct. 13, many communities north of Boston lifted evening activity bans, reported the Boston Globe. The activity ban remains in place in Newburyport.

Tim October 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Maybe my reading comprehension is slipping, but I'm confused. The state department of health says they wont be lowering the risk level because the hard frost negated the need for risk levels??
Robert Gates October 23, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Tim, correct, the National Weather Service said that a hard freeze occurred on Oct. 13. http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/images/hardFreezeWeb.jpg Because of that, the state Department of Public Health is no longer updating, revising or lowering its risk levels. The Hamilton Board of Health said they would lift the ban if the temperatures are 28 degrees or lower for four straight hours. The definition of a hard freeze used by the weather service is temperatures of 28 degrees or below for any period of time.
Michelle Bailey October 23, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Blood-sucking flying creatures may delay Halloween. Anyone else find that ironic or funny?
Tim October 23, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Thank you. I would just assume "negated the need for risk levels" would automatically mean that the risk level was adjusted lowered.
Jeff October 24, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Since this ban was put in place because of the issues in Essex and they have since lifted their ban, explain why we are taking these extreme measures that no other surrounding town is??

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