Halloween night began and ended with no major incidents, police say

IOANNIS PASHAKIS/Sun-Gazette The Birch family, of South Williamsport, moored a spooky ghost ship in front of their house on East Central Avenue Halloween night.

Halloween night across the region was spooky, haunted and creepy, but most of all it was safe.

This year’s trick-or-treating festivities went off without a hitch, according to local police departments who patrolled neighborhoods, some with candy in hand.

While the night was on the colder side, at around 40 degrees, trick-or-treaters still arrived at houses for treats and, according to Chief Robert Hetner, of South Williamsport Police Department, it was a busy Halloween.

“Trick-or-treat has been well attended this year,” Hetner said. “We always get concerned about the safety, but I think people were pretty attentive. They were using some good common sense.”

During the trick-or-treat patrol there were no disturbances, according to South Williamsport, Old Lycoming and city police.

“It’s actually been very quiet for us,” Cpl. Jeff Hughes, of Old Lycoming, said. “Historically we dont usually have a lot of problem calls. Once you get past the trick-or-treat time, that’s more likely when you’ll have criminal mischief.”

According to Hughes, officers still need to keep their eyes peeled during the later hours of the night because of the nature of the holiday.

“Businesses are more lax if someone comes in with a mask, so we are really making sure we patrol businesses,” Hetner said.

Along with patrolling the streets, another part of the job during Halloween is handing out candy — and for many officers its the best part.

“I got a lot of handshakes thats for sure,” Cpl. Brian McGee, of city police, said. “Parents are very appreciative.”

According to McGee, Williamsport was also a popular place for trick-or-treaters, with many in large groups of kids and parents.

During South Williamsport’s busy night, Hetner drove with Mayor David Lechniak and handed out candy to members of the community together.

“It’s a chance not only for the police end, but it makes a nice evening for everybody,” Hetner said. “We’ve been doing that here for years.”

If any brave trick-or-treaters wandered down East Central Avenue in South Williamsport, they would have seen a scary haunted pirate ship.

Homeowners Dawn and Sam Birch, along with their daughter Gabby Birch, created a pirate ship manned by a skeleton crew out of their old fishing boat.

When Dawn Birch came to her husband with the idea to make the boat into a pirate ship, he gave her one better.

“He lined our old fishing boat with pallets,” Birch said.

The creepy boat, shining in a spotlight from across the street, was only half of the decoration. The Birch’s also completely outfitted their yard into a haunted pirate graveyard, complete with a plank that landlubbers had to walk across.

“When people retire from theater they find other ways to be theatrical,” Dawn Birch said. “We’d like to build on this, I’d like to see a kraken.”

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