Like all celebrations in 2020, Halloween is coming with safety warnings to go with the tricks and treats.
The national Center for Disease Control and Illinois Department of Public Health have publicly discouraged traditional trick-or-treating, and local municipalities have followed suit. But knowing plenty of families want to enjoy the holiday, local villages are providing residents with everything from safety tips to safer alternatives.
All communities in The Record’s coverage area have announced trick-or-treating hours (see below) and most have asked homes to display signs showing whether they will participate in trick-or-treating.
While each community features its own list of trick-or-treating safety measures, most are similar. They include:
• Do not participate if you are feeling unwell, if someone in your house is unwell, if you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, if you have recently returned from travel to a “hotspot” state, or if you know that you have been exposed to COVID-19.
• Wear an appropriate safety facemask; most costume masks are not COVID-19 safe.
• Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups, instead go as a household
• Outdoor routes are preferred, as opposed to apartment buildings, indoor shopping centers, etc.
• Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use regularly.
• For participating households, leave candy well spaced on an outdoor table; if you hand out candy, wear a mask and gloves.
• Disinfect candy packaging and wash hands before consuming candy collected during trick-or-treating.
• In general, costumes should consist of something that lights up or is visible, such as a flashlight or glow jewelry.
• In general, watch traffic signals and signs before crossing streets; and drivers should be hyper aware with children in the area.
Suggestions for trick-or-treating alternatives include (from the CDC):
• Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
• Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
• Decorating your house, apartment or living space
• Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed items to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
• Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
• Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
• Having a scavenger-hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
Last word: “With just a little bit of planning and creativity, parents can make this year’s Halloween festivities every bit as fun as any other year. Please be safe out there.” — Village of Northfield’s website
Hours: 3-7:30 p.m.
For trick-or-treaters: If a house’s outdoor lights are off, that means the resident has chosen not to participate and you should pass it by. The Village asks you to respect this guideline.
Hours: 2-6 p.m.
Local alternative: “The Village is collaborating with Sears School, the Park District and the Kenilworth Historical Society to sponsor a Halloween Home Decorating Contest. I’m sure, like me, you’ve noticed your neighbors spending more time enjoying walking and biking around town. This seems like the perfect year to initiate this contest, allowing residents a creative outlet and providing those strolling around town with some visually interesting scenes.” — Village President Ann Potter