Happy haunting, Carroll County.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of numerous activities and cast doubt on whether traditions can be celebrated safely, but trick-or-treating will still go on this year after a decision from local mayors.
All of the mayors in Carroll County agreed to allow trick-or-treating to take place, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Halloween, Oct. 31, according to Union Bridge Mayor Perry Jones. They reached that decision pretty quickly, he said.
Trick-or-treating is usually organized within individual communities, he said, though families are being asked to stay within their communities to participate this year.
“We decided that the kids have missed out on everything else this year,” Jones said. “As long as everybody does their social distancing and goes by some basic rules, we thought it would be a good idea to have trick-or-treating.”
Jones said there are different ways people can trick-or-treat safely, and the Carroll County Health Department issued a news release that outlines various suggestions for those who wish to participate in the Halloween tradition.
Social distancing while trick-or-treating, and only with people you live with, is strongly encouraged, the release says. Halloween costume masks will not block potentially infectious droplets, so face coverings should still be worn at all times.
It’s not necessary to disinfect candy after returning home, the release says. The health department recommends candy be unwrapped and dropped into a clean bowl, then children should wash their hands before consumption.
For those who wish to distribute candy to trick-or-treaters, face coverings should be worn when doling out treats at all times. Prepared treat bags spaced out on a table or given with a chute-like delivery are ideas recommended by the health department to encourage contact-less distribution.
“Trick-or-treating doesn’t break any of the governor’s guidelines and will be a safe, fun outlet for our children,” Westminster Mayor Joe Dominick said. “Of course, if you or anyone you’ve been exposed to recently has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should not participate.
“I’ve seen how many people are planning to set out candy in creative ways to encourage distancing. Others are planning on alternative activities, such as making homemade candy.”
The health department also provided suggestions for alternative Halloween events, such as socially distanced neighborhood parades, drive-thru trick-or-treating and virtual Halloween parties.
Carroll County Recreation and Parks is hosting a drive-thru trunk-or-treat event on Halloween from 3-6 p.m. at the Robert Moton Center. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes, and children between 2 and 12 years old will receive pre-packaged treat bags during the free event.
“I just enjoy watching the kids come out and have a good time and seeing all the decorations in the communities,” Jones said. "We like to say people get very creative for Halloween … people want to get out, get their kids out because they’ve been in or out. They can’t go to school, so they’re going to see some of their classmates and stuff.
“I think it’s going to be a fun time.”