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DATE CHANGED IN 2 PLACES FOR TRICK-OR-TREATS

The calendar may say that Halloween falls on Sunday this year, but two local communities say it doesn't.

The City of Niagara Falls and Village of Lancaster have designated today and Saturday, respectively, as the days to distribute goodies to youngsters.

In some parts of the country, communities are keeping Halloween away from Sunday for religious reasons, but that's not the case here.

Lancaster Mayor Bill Cansdale said the village usually observes Halloween on the calendar day, but this year village trustees believed Saturday would allow more younger children an opportunity to fully participate in the trick-or-treating experience and be safer because it's the last day of daylight-saving time.

"On Saturday, the young kids can go out and enjoy the evening without having to worry about getting up early the next day for school," Cansdale said. "With it being the last day before turning the clocks back, there will be more daylight."

Village Trustee Mary Marino said some parents called baffled by the change, though.

"Some were upset and wanted to know why," she said. "After I explained that our intentions for the children were good, the parents were OK with the change. The kids can go out Saturday and have Sunday to relax and enjoy their candy."

In Niagara Falls, the school district and the city manager orchestrated the switch. The last time Halloween fell on a Sunday in 1999, the city also observed it on a Friday.

Superintendent Carmen Granto said today is convenient because youngsters will already be in their costumes, fresh from their classrooms' Halloween parties and can immediately embark on their missions to get goodies.

"It seemed like the most reasonable day to me," he said.

The juxtaposition of Sunday and Halloween is sternly rejected in some Bible Belt communities.

But around here, most take the purist's approach: Halloween is on Halloween.

"There was never a discussion," said Kathleen Johnson, clerk/treasurer of Kenmore, where trick-or-treating will be Sunday. "It never even came up. No resident raised the issue."

G. Jeffrey Haber, executive director of the Association of Towns of the State of New York, agreed.

"This is the first time I'm hearing of this," he said. "It's not an issue."

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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