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Trick Or Treat?

Towns, Villages Weigh Options On Halloween

Halloween activities in schools and towns have been greatly reduced on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet many municipalities are still setting trick-or-treating hours should families choose to take part. Photo by David Prenatt

Most parents and grandparents remember the warnings — and often myths — about tampered Halloween candy.

The solution was fairly simple: just examine your child’s Halloween candy for signs of tampering and throw away anything questionable. But how can parents check for a highly contagious virus that can linger on a surface for up to a week?

This is the issue that municipalities are facing this year in trying to decide if children should go trick-or-treating. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is discouraging Halloween trick-or-treating as a “high-risk” activity for spreading the coronavirus.

However, many municipalities are scheduling hours for door-to-door trick-or-treating anyhow. Most have decided to leave the decision to the families.

Trick-or-treat hours have been set for 6-8 pm on Halloween in the village of Westfield, but village officials have emphasized that the decision is up to individual parents.

“For those that do decide to go,” said Vincent Luce, village administrator and clerk, “we recommend that people follow the CDC, New York state Health Department and Chautauqua County Health Department guidelines at all times.”

Luce also noted that the village board decided not to hold the Halloween parade this year. He also said the village has not heard if the Presbyterian church will conduct its popular trunk-or-treat this year.

However, there will be a drive-through trunk-or-treat in Findley Lake from 6-7:30 p.m. sponsored by the Findley Lake United Methodist Church, but there will not be set trick-or-treating hours.

“I am not going to announce trick-or-treat hours, as we have done in the past,” said Mina town Supervisor Rebecca Brumagin. “We will leave trick-or-treating up to individual families and to the homeowners who typically give out candy and treats.”

The nearby town of Clymer will have regular trick-or-treating hours from 5-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31. Town officials are recommending that residents review the CDC guidelines for Halloween activities.

Similarly, the town of Ripley has set its usual hours for trick-or-treating, from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

The Sherman Village Board voted at its Oct. 7 meeting to hold trick-or-treating as usual from 5-7 p.m.

“We had a few inquiries in recent weeks as to whether we’d be having trick-or-treating, but there was not much discussion otherwise,” said Sherman Mayor Colleen Meeter. “As always, participation is optional for both residents offering treats and parents participating with their children.”

Meeder added that the village newsletter includes the usual safety items, but also contains a message to be mindful of wearing masks and social distancing.

In light of the categorization of trick-or-treating as a high risk activity by the CDC, municipalities in the area, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are proceeding cautiously and advising parents to use their best judgment.

“I would not ban trick-or-treaters going door-to-door. I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Cuomo said. “You have neighbors — if you want to go knock on your neighbor’s door, God bless you and I’m not going to tell you not to.”

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