With the Codorus Creek swollen and the ground saturated with water delivered by Hurricane Sandy, York City officials decided to cancel the city's annual trick-or-treat night rather than risk lives or lawsuits.
Most York County municipalities proceeded with regularly scheduled Halloween festivities Wednesday or re-scheduled trick or treat for later this week.
But, in a city divided by a waterway, some danger will persist for days after a so-called superstorm swept through, said York City Police Chief Wes Kahley.
"The Codorus Creek is still way above its normal height," Kahley said. "Some more trees may come down."
Those aren't safe conditions for kids to be out on the streets, he said. And, the city might be vulnerable to lawsuits if someone were to be injured during a city-sanctioned trick-or-treat night.
"Then we're blamed for not seeing that hazard," Kahley said. "Each municipality has to look at the risk factors."
The cancellation meant parents in York County's mostly densely populated municipality had to look elsewhere for candy-distributing neighborhoods on Wednesday. City residents still have the option of taking their kids trick or treating in 10 municipalities that re-scheduled the event for Friday and Saturday.
Christa Raught waited until Tuesday to tell her two kids that trick or treating had been canceled in the city.
"They were both crying last night," she said. "It was really upsetting for the kids."
But the Fireside family came up with a backup plan. On Wednesday, Raught and her kids - dressed as Harry Potter and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle - headed to a friend's neighborhood in Springettsbury Township.
York City Councilwoman Renee Nelson, who has two young children, said she was disappointed in the city's decision.
Her 10-year-old daughter wasn't interested in venturing outside the city Wednesday for candy. But, Nelson said, other parents took their kids to nearby townships to knock on doors.
Trick or treating isn't as big in York City as it used to be, Nelson said.
"I think people just don't know their neighbors like they used to. So many people move in and out, especially in the city," she said. "When I was little I knew every person on the whole block."
- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.