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Don’t panic about Halloween just yet

Halloween is among my favorite holidays. There’s just something about the history, tradition and, of course, the mischief associated with the celebration.

It’s mid-September, so thoughts are, obviously turning to that evening of merriment where the kids dress up in costume to collect candy and other treats from their neighborhoods, some go to parties and others sit around their homes sharing scary stories of various ghosts and ghouls.

Given the state of things this year, some may be concerned their annual celebrations will be affected as mandates on crowd sizes and other social distancing measures continue.

I’ve even heard there are some who are starting to try and organize “protest” trick-or-treating because they believe the observance already has been canceled in some of our area communities.

In recent days, I was alerted to a post on a local message board about someone encouraging the organizing of a neighborhood trick-or-treat activity. They insisted the “official” city observance was not happening.

The problem being, none of our local cities or towns have made a decision about trick-or-treating…yet.

In fact, during Tuesday’s Weirton City Council meeting, the city manager made a point of saying no decision has been made. He said city officials would be having discussions in the coming weeks about whether the “official” city trick-or-treating would be held, and how.

Obviously, there are concerns given the virus, and people are worried about when and whether they are going to have any “normal” events and activities this year. Adjustments have been made in just about every aspect of our lives, and that includes holiday observances. There were few, if any, Independence Day festivities, and people are worried the same will be for Halloween, and then Thanksgiving and Christmas.

None of us really know how things are going to progress. The restrictions in place now may very well be lifted in the next couple of weeks, or there may be new limits placed. Nobody is doing this in an attempt to ruin anyone’s fun, though, and, as I’ve mentioned, there have been no decisions made locally as of yet.

In fact, outside of possibly having large gatherings for parties, many of the observances for Halloween are probably the most ideal for today’s pandemic environment. You’re going to be outside most of the time, and if you practice social distancing, wear a mask when necessary and observe good hygiene, it should be OK. Add those measures to the usual safety recommendations issued for Halloween — only going to neighborhoods you know, travel with a trusted group, let parents check over your candy haul before eating any of it — I would think everyone would be as safe as you’re going to be.

Having said all of that, I would encourage our local government officials to make their decision in the next couple of weeks. Families like to have plans in place, and need time to plan or purchase costumes, buy an appropriate amount and type of candy and figure out how they are going to safely distribute the goodies to visiting trick-or-treaters. Quite frankly, seven weeks goes faster than we realize, and then “spooky season” is upon us.

We don’t get trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood these days, and, as is my tradition, I’ll most likely just curl up with my copy of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” but for those who do go out, I hope you have the opportunity for any enjoyable holiday.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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