The weather was blustery yesterday and expected to get worse as the bewitching time for all the costumed goblins and ghouls approached. In fact, the weather map was downright scary. For that reason, many Central Kentucky city and county governments delayed the official trick-or-treating time one day.
Now, you can’t move Halloween, but you can change when you celebrate it for the safety and convenience of everyone involved. There was much debate about the decision,and it will probably continue today since the weather last night was not as frightful as originally feared.
I’ll let the radio talk personalities and their call-in guests debate whether or not that’s the correct thing to do. What I want to comment on is the changes that have made such an unusual thing possible–technology.
My first notice of a schedule change came via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. It was probably just moments after the decision in Jessamine County had been made that I saw it posted. I re-tweeted it and watched as different communities chimed in with decisions. Later, as I was preparing dinner, we received an automated call from the school system informing students, families and anyone else on their call list that trick-or-treating was changed to the following night. And, as the storm rolled in, perhaps some of you received weather alerts via text messaging.
News and other information is now available immediately. Although not perfect, as last night showed, weather forecasting is becoming increasingly accurate. Because of that, people have high expectations for knowing what’s going on and acting in advance to reduce risk.
We advisers and communicators of events need to keep that in mind. Not only do we need to have a Plan B, we need to be prepared to activate and communicate it within nanoseconds.
They say in Kentucky that if you don’t like the weather you should just stick around a few hours and it will change. Apparently, so will events. With a little advance planning, you’ll avoid all the tricks that could come from unhappy event guests.