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Scene in Manchester: City picks Oct. 31, the right day to celebrate Halloween

Special to The New Hampshire Union Leader

September 16. 2012 9:59PM
Webster School students, from left, Abigail Phillibotte, 9, Lexi Kesselring, 10, Erin Flurey, 8, Christina Gatzoulis, 9, Lena Robinson, 9, Mary Mulcahy, 9, Sophia Leonard, 9, and Devan Booth, 8, ran a lemonade and popcorn stand last week to raise money for playground toys. (COURTESY)

Last year the city finally decided to start celebrating Halloween the right way and scheduled trick-or-treat in the evening on Oct. 31. It was postponed due to a surprising 'Snowtober' storm, and rescheduled for another night.

Naturally, I dressed my kid as Batman - entirely in black - and sent him out into the darkness. Despite my questionable parenting, he survived his first nighttime trick-or-treat, and Mayor Ted Gatsas and Police Chief Dave Mara have decided to let us do it again.

This year, Manchester's trick-or-treat will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. I have heard complaints that having it in the evening excludes younger participants. In my opinion, if your kid goes to bed before 6 p.m. they are probably too young to trick-or-treat anyway. I understand babies dressed as pumpkins are adorable, but there are plenty of other daytime Halloween events during the month where you can show off your costumed tot.

My childhood was filled with boring old Sunday afternoon trick-or-treating. I am glad my children will be able to experience Halloween as it was meant to be - in the dark, on Oct. 31.

When life gives you lemons

These days I can't even attend my son's soccer practice without a stranger coming up to tell me the students in Manchester's public schools are doomed. I don't have any children in public school yet, but I will next year and the recent soccer mom banter nearly had me considering home-schooling, or worse, moving to Bedford! (Don't worry, Bedford readers. I'm just joking. I could never afford to move there.)

But all my public school fears were put to ease in an instant last Tuesday by Webster School students Abigail Phillibotte, Lexi Kesselring, Erin Flurey, Christina Gatzoulis, Lena Robinson, Mary Mulcahy, Sophia Leonard, and Devan Booth. The schools were closed for Election Day, but these young ladies were up bright and early with a plan to raise money for new playground toys.

By 9:30 a.m. they had erected a lemonade and popcorn stand on Clark Street and two hours later they had collected $108. The girls said they were inspired by their principal, Chris Martin, who spoke at the previous day's Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony about making a change in the world.

Martin said she was impressed by her students' initiative. The money will be used to replace items like balls, jump ropes and hula hoops, which take quite a beating from 500 kids a day. The girls will get to help her pick out the new toys.

Why was I ever scared about sending my child to a school where the principal is inspiring entrepreneurialism and philanthropy in her students? I love that these girls saw a problem and sprang into action to fix it. They learned a lot about marketing in the process. When they started going through lemonade too quickly, they decreased the portion size. When product was moving too slowly at their original corner, they moved operations to the corner of Elm Street.

Manchester schools are not perfect. But if the students are supposed to be suffering, somebody forgot to tell these girls.

Help them win a wedding

You can help a young couple who met at Southern New Hampshire University win the wedding of their dreams. Massachusetts residents Karyn Sampson and her fiance, Mac Luciani, a member of the Army National Guard, are finalists in the FOX25 'Wedding to Remember' contest. Their story, which can be seen at, is a bit of a tear-jerker. In their video they talk about how they met on the very first day of school and about Luciani's surprise proposal while on leave from deployment in Afghanistan last November.

The pair is one of three military couples chosen from close to 100 entries to vie for an all-expense-paid wedding at The Westin Copley Place on Veterans Day, as well as a honeymoon, dress, cake, invitations, bridal party gifts, home furniture and appliances, and more. You can vote for Sampson and Luciani until Sept. 26 at the website mentioned earlier. The winner will be announced live on FOX25 Morning News on Sept. 27. events of the week

Have you checked out recently? It is packed with fun, fall events. There is so much going on this week that I had to pick two to highlight.

The 11th annual Fight to Educate takes place at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sept. 20. You don't have to be a huge boxing fan to enjoy this event, which also features entertainment, a black-tie dinner, live and silent auctions and boxing legends.

Charities supported by the Fight to Educate include SEE Science Center, The Bobby Stephen Fund for Education, and New Horizons for New Hampshire. There are two kinds of tickets offered for the event. Those interested in the pre-fight, black-tie dinner on the floor should contact Stephen Singer at 669-4100. General admission tickets to watch the bouts from the stands range from $10 to $50.

For the second year in a row, the country dancers at the Yard's weekly Midnight Rodeo will be raising money for the Eben Ezer School in Haiti on Friday. The school, which educates 250 children, is well-known and supported by many residents of the Seacoast regions of New Hampshire and Maine. It has also grabbed the attention of Midnight Rodeo organizers Deb Kovisars and Dave McCurdy.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and music by 'Work in Progress' starts at 8:30 p.m. Donations of $10 a person will be taken at the door.

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