Each Halloween, scores of Parsippany children don costumes and visit the township high schools to enjoy candy, play games and interface with area teenagers in a safe, supervised setting. At least at Parsippany Hills High School, however, the night of fun may not take place.
Alice Lee, the Hills' Board of Education liaison reported at the Thursday school board meeting that students don't know whether the event will or won't go forward on its scheduled date, Oct. 30.
"We've been trying to get answers," said Lee. "All we've gotten are wishy-washy responses, based on what we hear from administration, the Board of Education and our advisors.
"I'm personally frustrated. I'm a senior and have participated for the last three years. Why it might be cancelled is a blur to me," she said.
Lee defended the annual holiday event.
"It's not just for the high school, but for the whole community," she said. "It doesn't make sense to me. We want a clear direction or an answer as to what's going to happen. Students are starting to find out, and it's becoming a big issue at the Hills."
Her message was reinforced during the public comment portion of the meeting when Hills student council executive board members Chase Boyle and Michael Kertesz came to the microphone to speak.
"We were told the event had been cancelled outright, and it sucked the spirit right out of us," said Boyle, adding that the Halloween event means a great deal to the students. He said he was told by school administration that the problem was a lack of participation on the part of chaperones.
Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz said he is aware of rumors swirling regarding the fate of Halloween at the Hills 2012. He said there are "significant legal issues" that need to be discussed, including the number of teachers and administrators who need to take part.
"We are working of finding out and making a decision," he said, adding that no decision has been made regarding the event. "I certainly understand how important this is to everyone at the Hills. Historically our teachers and students have worked hard to make the night what it is."
Seitz said he hopes to get more information and that a final decision on whether the event should come early next week. He added that he will make sure to check on what's happening with Halloween at the High, which is scheduled to take place at Parsippany High School on Oct. 31.
Board Vice President Frank Neglia asked what was endangering Halloween at the Hills.
"There have been rumors saying there are few volunteers to decorate and supervise the event," Seitz explained. "There are crowd control issues to be dealt with.
"We'll do our best," the superintendent said. "If we have enough [staff] to make the event go, we will."