Mother Nature played a terrible trick last year when Superstorm Sandy laid waste to local Halloween trick-or-treating -- and the popular "Trick or Treat on Safety Street," an annual observance by merchants downtown.

But possibly because they were already in "hero" mode from responding to Sandy, personnel from the Police, Public Works and Fire departments last year volunteered for "Trunk or Treat," a holiday event confined to the parking lot at the downtown train station.

This year, however, trick or treaters will be on their own. Neither event will take place.

The Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, which annually sponsored "Safety Street" on the Sherman Green and along the Post Road, decided to cancel the event after reviewing its holiday program schedule, according to Beverly Balaz, the new executive director.

Apparently, the program's popularity was its undoing. In its early days, costumed kids visited stores in the downtown business district to collect treats but in recent years merchants have set up tables on sidewalk to deal with the throngs.

"Each year, the event became larger and larger, thus creating a shortage of manpower, volunteer availability and program management," Balaz said.

In the wake the "Safety Street" cancellation last year, "We teamed up with the Fire Department and Public Works and others to hold an event at the railroad station," Police Chief Gary MacNamara said of the Trunk or Treat event last year, "and kind of took on a bigger role."

However, the chief said, police officials had assumed that this year "Safety Street" would go on as usual, and as it has traditionally, his department would take on a supporting role.

"It's our understanding the Chamber of Commerce opted not to hold either event," MacNamara said. "It takes a lot of resources, and it took a lot of resources to do it last year. We were looking to support the chamber and have them take it (Trunk or Treat) over."

MacNamara said police are still willing to participate in a Halloween event should the chamber decide to hold one.

Of course, the cancellation is probably the scariest for local politicians -- both parties traditionally set up booths on Sherman Green to hand out not only candy to kids, but campaign literature to their parents.

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