By Dermot Connolly
Like many things this year, trick-or-treating and other traditional Halloween festivities will be a little different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health have prevented the opening of local haunted houses, including Midnight Terror in Oak Lawn, Terror at the Terrace in Worth, and Haunted Woods in Orland Park. But most local communities have decided to allow trick-or-treating, with health and safety recommendations taken into consideration
“ Trick-or-treating this year needs to be a choice made by parents…and passing out candy needs to be an individual decision. I am sure some parents and residents are very worried about COVID so they will choose not to participate,” said Mayor Mary Werner of Worth, where it is being allowed from 2 to 7 p.m.
In a statement on the village website, she suggested that those families who are giving out candy leave their porch lights on or set up tables at the end of their driveways or sidewalks to pass it out. The CDC recommendations advise separating wrapped candy on tables rather than handing it out from bowls or allowing trick-or-treaters to take candy from bowls in order to limit contact and prevent contamination.
All participants throughout the area are advised to wear COVID-19 face masks, in addition to any costume masks.
Werner said she will do so while passing out candy at the end of her driveway.
In Palos Hills, trick-or-treating hours are from 3 to 7 p.m. In addition to advising participating residents to turning porch lights on to let trick-or-treaters know they are welcome, the city is providing two varieties of signs on its website that people can place in their windows to let people know whether or not they are passing out candy.
Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and details about the city’s jack-o-lantern decorating contest and are also available on the website at paloshillsweb.org.
Evergreen Park is having trick-or-treating from 3 to 6 p.m. this year. Village officials said signs informing trick-or-treaters whether they are welcome will soon be available on the village website too.
As of Tuesday, Chicago Ridge officials said trick-or-treating hours will be from 2 to 7 p.m. on Halloween. But village officials and the police department said the situation is fluid and will be updated in the next week or so after CDC recommendations are reviewed by the Village Board.
The Hickory Hills City Council plans to make a decision on trick-or-treating at its meeting tonight (Thursday) and the matter was still under discussion in Oak Lawn as of Tuesday, with official hours likely to be set within the next week.
At the most recent Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on Sept. 22, Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) encouraged officials to allow trick-or-treating, perhaps with limited hours.
“ From a village side, I believe we owe it to the kids to try to put something together at least with limited hours, social distancing and masks. We should have some kind of Halloween for the kids of the neighborhood,” he said.