Fredericton — Halloween: a time when people don’t hesitate to open the doors of their homes and pass out treats and goodies for all those who come knocking — as long as they don’t really need it.
Fredericton City Council announced earlier this week that the city would be experimenting with helping out the homeless this Halloween by letting them get in on the fun of trick-or-treating, and asked residents to oblige by handing out non-perishable food items instead of candy to those who partake.
Many Fredericton residents are vowing to boycott Halloween altogether if there’s a possibility of homeless people knocking at their door.
“They just sicken me,” complained southside resident Elva Thompson. “I have no problem whatsoever giving food to a cute little kid dressed up like a homeless person, but a real homeless person? That’s just wrong.”
Thompson told The Manatee that she thinks the homeless have no place in the city and ought not to spoil the fun the youngsters.
“Don’t they have anywhere they can go?” she asked our reporter. “Like to their friend’s house or something? Just for the night? They get to roam the streets the other 364 days a year — is it too much to ask that they just leave this one night for the kids?”
Thompson was far from the only one sharing a disregard for the homeless population of Fredericton and their attempt at tarnishing a night meant for selflessly handing out food.
“Look, this night is for kids that want candy,” expressed Joey Kinnsington of Devon. “It’s not for grown-ass people who need food, it’s for privileged kids whose parents can afford to buy them dress-up clothes every year and drive them around the rich neighbourhoods of Fredericton.”
Gary Albright, who lives in downtown Fredericton, suggested that the city’s homeless should be using their energy more productively.
“Maybe instead of knocking on doors asking for food, they should be knocking on business’s doors asking for jobs,” he explained. “I own a small business here in the city and not once have I had a homeless person come in looking for work — not once.”
The Manatee asked Albright if he would ever consider hiring someone he knew was homeless. “No, of course not. I’d have to be crazy to hire someone who lives on the streets, are you kidding me? But the least they could do is try.”
The city has called an emergency Friday evening meeting amidst backlash from angry residents; council hopes to resolve this issue before the big day on Saturday.
“We were going to stick to our guns and uphold our decision no matter what,” said a council member speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We then remembered that we’re politicians — it’s normal for us to flip-flop.”
The council will announce their decision on the City of Fredericton website by Saturday morning.