The coronavirus looms over all in 2020, including holidays. The danger associated with COVID-19 has individuals and families contemplating whether to skip celebrating some of the most significant days of the year or to, at least, make significant changes to long-held traditions associated with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve — really, any gathering that might result in crowds. Or at least a crowded dinner table.
We’re glad Halloween is not a casualty. The mayors of all of Carroll County’s municipalities affirmed more than a month ago that the haunting holiday is a go.
Many families may choose not to allow kids to go out trick-or-treating Saturday night. That’s understandable. But we’re glad those who want to participate in a little — dare we call it normalcy? — will have the option of dressing up in their favorite costume, whether that means something traditional like a witch or a superhero or something timely like Joe Exotic or Donald Trump, and going door to door, yelling “Trick or Treat!” and filling their bags with candy.
“We decided that the kids have missed out on everything else this year,” Union Bridge Mayor Perry Jones told us. “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.”
We couldn’t agree more. Trick-or-treating is an outdoor activity, kids can keep their distance and, let’s face it, a little time outside of the house will be therapeutic for many.
We do, however, continue to stress that guidelines designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 should be followed. The Carroll County Health Department issued a news release that outlines suggestions for those who wish to participate.
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. 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.
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 told us. “Of course, if you or anyone you’ve been exposed to recently has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should not participate.”
As long as we’re talking about safety, do remember that Halloween is one of the most dangerous times of the year for pedestrians. Kids will be out in large numbers, walking in and crossing roads and streets. Motorists should be on high alert, especially from 6 to 8 p.m., the traditional trick-or-treating times for most communities.
We urge drivers to exercise extreme caution and to slow down, particularly in residential areas. Parents can help by making sure kids are visible to motorists. We write it every year: Flashlights, glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark bracelets and reflective tape on costumes or treat bags are all good ideas that will make kids stand out.
Much of the above was about safety, and that is of paramount importance, of course. But don’t lose sight of another critical aspect: Regardless of its origins and its scary traditions, Halloween is supposed to be about having a good time. And kids surely need that right now. In fact, we all do.