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City to offer Halloween trick-or-treating guidelines

By James Grob,

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

At a meeting last week, the Charles City Council seemed to agree this might not be the best year to have Halloween trick-or-treating, with people going door-to-door and potentially spreading the COVID-19 virus.

At Wednesday’s planning session, however, Mayor Dean Andrews conceded that there was really nothing the council could do to stop the annual tradition. He said he’d been in contact with other communities, and many are going forward with trick-or-treating.

“I don’t know if anyone has any strong feelings one way or the other,” Andrews told the council. “I could go either way.”

Council member Phoebe Pittman suggested giving the public some guidelines to remind them to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus as they trick-or-treat.

“I think people are going to do it anyway,” said Pittman. “We might be better served if we not only set a time, but came up with some suggestions as to how people can do it safety.”

Andrews said that he thought that suggestions like reminding people handing out treats to wear gloves, and reminding people out and about to keep a distance from other groups might be appropriate.

“I got some messages from other cities regarding trick-or-treating, and most of them are canceling things like big parades, but they are allowing people to use their own discretion as to whether or not they’re trick-or-treating,” Andrews said.

The guidelines would include items like setting times and asking those who want to participate to turn their lights on and those who don’t to turn them off.

“Leave it up to the people who want to do it, to do it,” Andrews said. “I guess I’m OK with that plan.”

Council members DeLaine Freeseman and Philip Knighten both suggested using language to indicate the city is not necessarily recommending trick-or-treating, but that since people are going to do it anyway, they should please take precautions.

“We’ve made it clear in the past that we’d like people to avoid large gatherings, but trick-or-treating is one that’s hard to avoid,” Pittman said.

Andrews said he would come up with some trick-or-treating guidelines and share them with the public as soon as possible.

“We’ve been getting calls here at city hall wondering what’s going on, so it’s important to get that information out there,” Andrews said.

Halloween, Oct. 31, falls on a Saturday this year.