By Jane Coughran, Alexandria
To the editor:
Bravo to Amy Bayer for her recent letter (“Lee Street’s Halloween festivities are completely out of hand,” November 14). I, too, have lived along South Lee Street for many years and watched with dismay as what was once a charming neighborhood tradition turn into an annual melee that verges on total chaos.
Yes, the young trick-or-treaters are still adorable in their costumes — and most are very polite — but there are simply too many of them. Many, if not most, are not local or even from other neighborhoods in Alexandria. They are lured to our street by the type of publicity normally reserved for fairs and other large events held in nonresidential, public spaces.
This year, the celebration began at 5 p.m., and by 6:20 p.m., my mere 500 offerings were gone and I tried to close up shop. That meant turning off lights downstairs and retreating upstairs from where I continued to hear loud knocks on the door, bangs of the mail slot as revelers peered into the darkened house and occasional four-letter words of disgust as the evening wore on.
Many of my neighbors were better supplied — one spent more than $200 on candy, and another had set a $500 limit — but they also ran short before police officers announced the reopening of the street to vehicles at 9 p.m. Meanwhile, residents just off Lee Street saw virtually no action and were disappointed when left with piles of unclaimed candy.
This prompts a suggestion for future Halloweens. If Old Town must be a trick-or-treating mecca for the metropolitan area, why not spread the revelry and responsibility around a little? Many other streets have blocks with just as many houses and can just as easily be closed to traffic as our five blocks of South Lee Street.
Prince, Wolfe or Pitt streets might like to host the carnival now and again. What about lower Queen Street?
I don’t want to be a curmudgeon about a happy tradition, but please, let’s give South Lee Street a little relief.