A majority of Cambridge City Council members said yesterday that they would support a measure restricting the traditional practice of trick or treating on Halloween. If approved, Cambridge would become the seventh city or town in Massachusetts to pass such a restriction.
Councilor Walter J. Sullivan said yesterday he would introduce an order restricting door-to-door candy collection at the next council meeting Monday night. He said he would sponsor the proposal because of concern over recent highly publicized poisoning scares involving Extra-Strength Tylenol and Visine eye drops.
Sullivan would not specify what kind of prohibitions his order would propose.
City officials in Dudley, Holland, Fitchburg, Palmer, Hadley and Methuen passed trick or treating restrictions earlier this week citing similar concern. The Boston City Council passed a resolution suggesting parents discourage their children from the practice, and town councils in Walpole. New Bedford and Norwood are also considering Halloween bans.
Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci said yesterday he would support the restrictions. "This is the time in the century when kids aren't safe in the streets anymore," he explained. "The old people in the city would be doing the kids a favor."
"You hate to be a spoil sport, but based on past happenings throughout the country. I can understand people's concern," said Councilor Thomas W. Danehy. He added that "the majority of Cambridge residents are in favor of some restrictions."
Councilor David E. Sullivan said he would oppose any prohibitions because the city might not be able to carry out the regulation. "I don't think we could prevent little kids from going out," Sullivan remarked. "We shouldn't pass things that are not enforceable."
Cambridge Police Chief Ralph Palillo was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Walter Sullivan suggested large parties held at local schools as an alternative to the door-to-door collections. Although skeptical that a trick or treating han could be enforced. School Committee member Sarait Mac Berman also gave the school parties as an alternative "because it is both positive and productive."
Councilors Francis H. Duehay '55 and David A. Wylie also said yesterday they would back restrictions if they were proposed. The support of the live councilors contacted yesterday would be enough to pass the measure in the nine-member council.
Concern over the potential dangers in the tradition have not been restricted to the Bay State. In Chicago, Mayor Jane Byrne said this week the city will mail more than one million flyers urging parents to accompany their children on their candy-hording rounds.