If all goes well, there could be little superheroes, princesses, witches and goblins walking area streets on Halloween thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement Tuesday that he will not cancel trick-or-treating.
Cuomo also said he will give New York parents his advice and guidance on the activity, but that it will be up to them to decide if their children go trick-or-treating during the pandemic.
When contacted about the news, a few local leaders offered their thoughts on what trick-or-treating and related Halloween activities might look like in their communities on Oct. 31.
“We’re six weeks away from Halloween basically, and the governor is known to change his mind,” said Olean Mayor Bill Aiello. “But I have had casual conversations about this and what we would potentially do if (the governor) does shut down Halloween.”
Aiello said an alternate activity that is being discussed for children in the city is a drive-up area at Lincoln Park that would provide candy to trick-or-treaters. He said this would take community support to collect enough candy to distribute if something should change with door-to-door trick-or-treating.
“But if the governor is going to allow Halloween, my first thoughts are that this is great and it would be entirely up to the parents if they want to take their kids out,” Aiello continued. “It would also be up to the individuals if they want to turn their porch lights on and give out candy.”
Aiello said he will advise children to wear face masks with their costumes and sanitize their hands and candy received. They should also be accompanied by their parents or adults.
“We’ll follow the governor’s lead … and see where it takes us,” he added. “I think we’ve had so many things canceled, but trick-or-treating is something that is controllable.”
Portville Mayor Tony Evans said the village plans to meet Monday on the issue and will likely permit trick-or-treating given the governor’s announcement.
“We’ll probably go ahead and allow people to use common sense” with trick-or-treating, Evans said. “It had not crossed my mind to cancel it entirely.”
He added, “If the weather is nice and people want to go trick-or-treating (with little kids), we’ll still encourage everyone to use a mask and social distancing and stay close to their parents.
“We just want people to be safe, but also happy,” he commented. “If I was a homeowner, I’d want to make sure I handed out wrapped candy and not hand out fruit and open things.”
He said if the village goes ahead with the event, it will be held the usual hours of 6 to 8 p.m. Halloween night. That said, Evans said he hopes the event will take place because it will make the kids happy.
“(The children) have been through a lot themselves,” he remarked.
In the village of Allegany, Mayor Greg Pearl said the board also plans to meet Monday and will discuss the options for Halloween at that time.
“We’ve been getting phone calls at the office” regarding trick-or-treating, Pearl said.
“I’m not sure which way that we’re leaning because I really haven’t talked to anybody.”
Pearl said that even with the governor’s announcement, he still wants to do what is right for the community.
“I don’t want to take away anything, but yet I don’t want to put people in a position” to feel obligated to hand out candy, Pearl stated. He explained that the village wants to make the event inviting for the children, but questions if it would be if there weren’t many residents participating.
“We do want it to be somewhat memorable for the kids,” he added. “We have a couple of different options … (such as) setting up tables six feet apart and putting them all the way around in a parking lot. Weather will play a lot in that, too.”
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)