To candy or not to candy: ‘No Littering Rule’ changes Homecoming parade expectations

Throwing+candy+out+to+the+crowd+around+them%2C+the+varsity+boys+soccer+team+enters+Brook+Hill+Subdivision+gates+Sept.+24%2C+2021.+Due+to+excessive+litter+and+waste+in+previous+years%2C+the+school+placed+a+rule+that+limits+candy+usage+in+the+parade+this+year.+%E2%80%9CWe+had+to+drive+a+golf+cart+around+the+neighborhood+and+pick+up+candy+and+trash+late+at+night.+It+was+just+another+freshman+and+me%2C+and+I+didnt+feel+safe%2C+sophomore+class+president+Triya+Gudipati+said.+We+missed+most+of+the+homecoming+game%2C+which+was+upsetting+because+it+was+my+first+year+in+high+school.+It+was+my+first+homecoming+game%2C+and+I+was+right+behind+the+field+so+that+I+could+hear+all+of+the+game%2C+but+I+didnt+get+to+go.+I+feel+like+that+experience+was+taken+away+from+me.

Zoey Ware

Throwing candy out to the crowd around them, the varsity boys soccer team enters Brook Hill Subdivision gates Sept. 24, 2021. Due to excessive litter and waste in previous years, the school placed a rule that limits candy usage in the parade this year. “We had to drive a golf cart around the neighborhood and pick up candy and trash late at night. It was just another freshman and me, and I didn’t feel safe,” sophomore class president Triya Gudipati said. “We missed most of the homecoming game, which was upsetting because it was my first year in high school. It was my first homecoming game, and I was right behind the field so that I could hear all of the game, but I didn’t get to go. I feel like that experience was taken away from me.”

UPDATE: AS OF SEPT. 22, 2022 THE ADMINISTRATION TEAM HAS DECIDED THAT THE HOMECOMING PARADE WILL ALLOW CANDY ON THE WEST HIGH CAMPUS THIS YEAR.

Homecoming traditions where students toss candy, beads and stickers while parading around campus end following the new no littering rule. The City of Chesterfield’s law code states that no person shall throw litter on any vacant or occupied property. Violating this law could result in a $100 to $500 fine against the school, causing students and staff to spend hours cleaning up melted, smashed and wasted candy after every parade. 

“The last few years, we have made it widely known that if the candy wasn’t under control, it would not be allowed. [So] whenever people sign-up to participate in floats, they are asked to make sure they are handing candy and not throwing candy obsessively,” science teacher and Longhorn Council Sponsor Susan Anderson said. 

To avoid further littering, the school stated in the homecoming float sign-up form that “any person or group that violates the Littering Law will be subject to the consequences of the Chesterfield police and will also NOT be invited back to the parade.”

“For four years, we have asked for that to be under control, and for the last three parades, the people who sign-up to be on the clean-up crew have not shown up,” Anderson said. “It ends up being myself, [Longhorn Council Sponsor Emily] Lovercheck and maybe three to five students responsible for cleaning up every ounce of candy on the West High Campus as well as in the Brook Hill Neighborhood.” 

Last year Anderson, Lovercheck, former Athletics Director Brian Kessler and three to five students spent over nine hours between Friday and Saturday cleaning the campus after the parade to prepare it for the outdoor homecoming. The candy left behind not only melted to the ground and attracted bees which they had to kill and remove with the candy.  

“We decided immediately that candy would not be allowed in the parade again. If people want candy, they will have to help clean up campus because we’re not going to have candy spread around the campus and litter everywhere. Nothing will be allowed to be thrown on the campus. If something is thrown, that participant will be removed immediately from the parade,” Anderson said.

In recent years, student volunteers have spent the Friday night and Saturday morning after the parade using shovels to scrape melted candy off the pavement. This new rule allows student volunteers to attend the football game and sleep in without worrying about picking up trash.

“Last year and years in the past, there was a lot of carelessly throwing around candy and targeting people in other floats. I remember walking [in a float] and getting hit in the head, [which] hurt. People didn’t clean up after themselves,” senior and student body vice-president Maya Malhorta said. 

Although littering is against the law, students wonder if families will still want to attend the parade if there isn’t candy for little kids. 

“I feel like most kids come for the candy,” sophomore Cole McDaniel said. “I know it’s littering, but [we] have been doing it for so long, so why choose this year? Why would you take away something people have been doing since the [beginning] of the parade? What else are they gonna change?” 

The Brook Hill neighborhood requested to have candy to hand out to the kids. However, they will provide their clean-up crew, so in response to this, specific sports, including cheer, poms and field hockey, are allowed to hand out candy, but only in the neighborhood. Candy is strictly prohibited as the parade travels through the school campus. 

“I know people are disappointed about it, but it’s not our control. I mean, it’s candy; Halloween is next month; they don’t need it,” Malhotra said. “As long as we keep the parade, I think the tradition will still stay. I remember all the floats, all the people cheering and seeing all the different groups of people going one by one. That’s what I remember, I don’t remember the candy.”