Town reviews ban on candy throwing at parades

Candy may be handed out but not thrown during parades in Southold Town. (Credit: Katherine Schroeder, file)
Candy may be handed out but not thrown during parades in Southold Town. (Credit: Katherine Schroeder, file)

The Southold Town Board has agreed to take a second look at its ban on throwing candy at parades.

Supervisor Scott Russell asked the board to reconsider the policy, which it enacted last May after a child was hit in the eye by a piece of candy. The supervisor said he has received quite a bit of criticism about the rule, specifically from neighborhood kids.

An example of that protest came during the board’s last meeting on March 10 when Cub Scout Pack 39 inquired about the need for such a policy.

Mr. Russell told the scouts it was passed due to safety concerns, but said he would raise the issue to the board at an upcoming meeting. He did just that at Tuesday morning’s work session.

“I understand the rationale behind [the ban] but … I am just wondering if our ban was an overreaction to one isolated incident,” Mr. Russell said Tuesday. “I don’t want to look like Johnny raincloud … I think we should revisit it.”

Councilman and deputy supervisor Bill Ruland pointed out the policy did not ban all candy from parades, but simply throwing candy.

“To me it is clear [the policy] doesn’t say you can’t have candy, it says you can’t throw it,” Mr. Ruland said. “Maybe we need to give more specific direction during the permit process [stating] that you can’t throw candy, but you can have volunteers walking alongside the float handing out candy.”

Assistant town attorney Stephen Kiely worried if the board repealed the ban and someone was injured by flying candy, the town would be held liable.

Councilwoman Louis Evans agreed.

“It would be one thing if we didn’t put the policy in place, but now that we have, if we take it out and something happens it would be worse,” she said. “Let’s just clarify what it means.”

Councilwoman Jill Doherty suggested the board continue to think about it and take the issue up at a later date.

“It is an old tradition,” she said of the candy throwing.

No action was taken Tuesday.

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