Plans vary for celebrating the spooky holiday this year
by Olivia Murray
Trick-or-treating is an annual October occurrence that many children and even parents look forward to. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has left Morgantown children and families wondering how they should go about celebrating this year, some even wondering if they should do it at all.
Earlier this month, the Morgantown City Council decided that trick-or-treating can be held within city limits. Morgantown’s trick-or-treating event will be from 6-8 p.m. Saturday. Westover Council also approved 6-8 p.m. Saturday for trick-or-treating there.
Additionally, Star City Council agreed to hold trick-or-treating in its town as well, from 6-7 p.m. Saturday.
Despite trick-or-treating being permitted this year, it is unclear what precautions children and their families should take to protect themselves from COVID-19 exposure.
As a result, some have decided their children will not participate in the festivities this year.
“[We’re doing] absolutely nothing,” said one resident. “It is an unnecessary risk.”
Other Monongalia County residents have decided they will allow their children to participate in Halloween activities, but will enforce a widespread adherence to CDC recommended protective measures.
“Here in Greenmont we will be encouraging neighbors and visitors to the neighborhood to follow CDC recommendations,” said resident Vicki Crowder. “While our annual Greenmont Haunt block party won’t be happening this year, we will be hosting a virtual costume contest.”
Crowder said updates on the virtual contest will be provided soon.
An image of a candy slide, built by Chris Minor, reached the South Park neighborhood Facebook group. The slide was built from PVC pipe and painted orange.
“The candy shoots out of the end of the slide into the kids’ baggies,” said Minor in his original Facebook post. “No-contact, no-touching trick-or-treating.” Minor also provided a tutorial for building a candy slide for those who wish to replicate it this year.
In addition to following general safety and social distancing guidelines or building their own candy slide, residents can educate themselves on the CDC’s holiday-specific guidelines.
According to the CDC website, these are some mild- to moderate-risk activities that Morgantown residents can participate in to keep themselves safe during Halloween celebrations:
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house-to-house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.
- Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab-and-go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).
The CDC also, as always, recommends wearing face masks at all times and maintaining a distance of a minimum of 6 feet between parties. Individuals with or those exposed to COVID-19 and individuals at an increased risk of severe illness should not attend in-person celebrations.
The CDC advises against a series of activities it has deemed higher-risk, including:
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
- Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
- Attending crowded costume parties held indoors.
For more information regarding CDC recommendations for holiday celebrations, visit the official CDC web page: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html