Illinois Department of Public Health is set to release guidelines soon, but local officials and parents are already thinking about how to celebrate Halloween during a pandemic
By Kelly Youngblood
The air feels cooler, pumpkins are popping up on porches, and Halloween costumes and candy are on display at most stores. As the anticipation for Halloween builds, many may be wondering what the holiday will look like this year.
While the Illinois Department of Public Health is expected to release trick-or-treat guidelines in the next few days, local officials are already considering Halloween plans for the Champaign-Urbana area.
Typically, the cities of Urbana and Champaign work with the Champaign County Board to establish trick-or-treat hours for Champaign County. City of Champaign officials say they are working on it but no official decisions have been made yet.
The Village of Tolono is planning to keep its traditional trick-or-treat schedule, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 5-7 p.m. Rena Anderson of the Village of Tolono said “it is the decision of the children’s parents whether or not they will allow their child/children to participate.”
Anderson added, “If a home wishes to give treats they must indicate as such by turning on their outdoor light(s).”
The Village of Rantoul usually hosts a Halloween party through the Recreation Department with free food, bounce houses, indoor games and candy. But according to Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer, that won’t be possible this year due to coronavirus restrictions.
Instead, to celebrate Halloween and keep participants safe, the Village of Rantoul and the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is planning a drive-thru trick-or-treat event on Friday, Oct. 30, from 6-8 p.m.
Event organizers are hoping to get 20-30 area businesses, organizations and individuals to set up a trunk-or-treat display or a spooky scene along a designated route. Vehicles will travel down the route and stop at each display where someone with a mask and gloves will come up to the car and hand out candy to each participant.
Many parents are getting creative and thinking about how to safely celebrate the holiday without traditional trick-or-treating. Residents of Liberty by the Lake subdivision in Savoy are organizing a socially distanced costume parade for neighborhood families.
Cara Bane, a Mahomet parent, is planning to do a scary movie/S’mores night at home with her two sons and pick out homemade candy from a local candy shop.
Carrie Wells, a mother of two in Urbana, says she has made alternative Halloween plans for her family as well that include dressing up at home, bobbing for apples, a caramel apple bar and a creative candy hunt.
“We plan on trick-or-treating around our backyard (picture Easter egg hunt with flashlights and glow in the dark sticks on candy) and the kids will each have a color of glow-in-the-dark sticks they must find (blue for child one, red for child two, etc.) and they must go hunting for their color of glow-in-the-dark sticks in order to find their candy! Then, once they find all the candy, we plan on finishing the night with a little costume runway walk throughout the house so the kids can still show off their costumes.”
She added, “It’ll be different, but it may be fun to switch up how they normally get their candy, and as long as they get to wear costumes and have a sugar rush, it’ll pretty much be just like any other year.”
Some cities in nearby states like Iowa have already announced specific trick-or-treat guidelines. The city of Creston, Iowa, revealed in a Facebook post that its suggestions will include keeping families in one group, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and setting out candy in individual Ziploc bags. The city advised wearing masks and cautioned against setting out a large “communal” bowl of candy for trick-or-treaters to “share.”
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