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Ashby’s limited Halloween observance is now tradition

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ASHBY — Hundreds of children, dressed in costumes ranging from creative to mundane, roamed Main Street on Halloween. Encouraged by the unseasonably warm weather in 2007, adults along the strip sat outside on lawn chairs to distribute the loot.

A scene from a movie, maybe? Would the friendly officers slowing traffic in the New England dark turn into vampires when the moon rose? Maybe Stephen King is hiding in the wings?

No, this is simply Ashby celebrating Halloween on Main Street, as the community has done for quite a while. “It’s been kind of a tradition for a long time,” said Cathy Johnson, a second-grade teacher at Ashby Elementary School. “It’s 20-plus years anyway.”

Ashby limits trick-or-treating to a short section of Main Street in the center of town. It is a popular town happening, no matter what the weather.

Some houses give out more than 300 pieces of candy, more children than are in the school, Johnson said. Of course, those children may have younger brothers and sisters who are also out gathering treats.

The Parent/Teacher Cooperative (PTC) at the elementary school organizes the event. To help defray the cost of buying candy, the organization collects bagged candy in the school lobby throughout the month of October.

This wrapped candy will be distributed to the homes on Main Street to be given out on Halloween. Homeowners are contacted to see if they want to participate and Johnson said most do. “It’s kind of a social event,” she said.

Last year, everything went smoothly. Police Chief Paul Lundin said there have been no problems with vandalism or crime.

His biggest concern is traffic congestion. Main Street is also Route 119 and plenty of cars travel through town in the evening.

“We ask for parents’ help and cooperation in supervising their kids,” Lundin said. Trick-or-treaters should stay on the sidewalk, wear bright and/or reflective clothes, and carry a flashlight.

Officers in cars and on foot will be in key traffic locations. A bright light from the Fire Department will be used to illuminate the road.

Johnson said the Police Department, the Fire Department, and the library will also be handing out candy.

The fire station is north of the trick-or-treating area but fire Chief Bill Seymour said people stop on their way to the center. It could prove exciting. “We have about a 9-foot monster,” he said.

Trick-or-treating will be held on Friday, Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 and is limited to the area on Main Street from County Road to the elementary school.