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Features

Many Will County communities letting residents decide whether or not to trick or treat

Many local communities will host traditional trick or treat this year. Don't trick or treat if you feel unwell and remember to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Many local communities will host traditional trick or treat this year. Don't trick or treat if you feel unwell and remember to wear masks and practice social distancing.

COVID-19 has apparently met its match.

Although not every Will County municipality has reached a decision, many have decided not to let COVID-19 infect Halloween and are hosting trick or treat. Residents can decide for themselves whether to participate.

In Joliet, trick-or-treating will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 31. Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said the decision to have trick-or-treating wasn’t difficult to make.

“I think so much has been taken away from kids in the last eight months,” O’Dekirk said. “I think people are responsible and will follow the guidelines.”

Residents who aren’t participating may post a flyer. They can download and print the flyer from joliet.gov or pick up a copy from City Hall at 150 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet.

O’Dekirk said the topic of canceling trick-or-treating came up last year, too.

“The weather was really bad, and some people wanted to cancel it,” O’Dekirk said. “We decided not to do. The response was overwhelmingly good.”

Crest Hill’s City Council decided unanimously to hold trick-or-treating, Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman said. Hours will be 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

Soliman said trick-or-treating easily lends itself to wearing masks and social distancing while bringing “a bit of normalcy” back into children’s lives.

Crest Hill residents who plan to hand out candy are asked to download a flyer from the city’s website at cityofcresthill.com.

Ben Benson, Lockport’s city administrator, said the city actually added an extra hour to trick-or-treating this year. Instead of 4 to 7 p.m., trick or treat will be 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said New Lenox will trick-or-treat from 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31. But the village is also co-hosting a Scarecrow Stroll with the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce.

Decorated scarecrows will stand in the village commons from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1.

But from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 31, families that come through the walk will receive a bag of candy for every child. This keeps some of the traditional fun in the day for children whose families aren’t trick or treating this year, he said.

“It’s been a rough year for a lot of people, especially for kids,” Baldermann said. “And so we understand people want their kids to go out and have some sort of normalcy. Rather than outlaw that, we’re just asking people to be careful and asking people to be respectful of those who do have concerns.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said traditional trick-or-treating events are considered a higher-risk holiday activity. That includes trunk or treat activities, such as the one at the First Presbyterian Church in Joliet, which is postponed until 2021, said Bo Mircea, associate pastor.

The event, which was already in place when Mircea joined First Presbyterian in 2009, has grown every year, he said.

In 2019, trunk and treat featured approximately 40 decorated trunks, along with food, candy and various activities, all free.

“Last year, we ordered 1,200 hot dogs, and they were all gone,” Mircea said. “We make homemade chili; 20 to 30 pounds of beef goes into the chili.”

Because more than 1,000 people attend the event, the church decided to postpone it until next year, Mircea said.

“It’s definitely a mixed and diverse group of people that comes through. It’s beautiful to see,” Mircea said. “That reminds everybody that, as a church, we are here in the community to share God’s love with you. That’s the bottom line.”

The village of Plainfield, which will host trick-or-treating from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31, offered the following tips for a safe event.

• Turn on porch lights on if you’re participating; keep them off if you’re not.

• Consider contact-free candy distribution.

• Refrain from participating in trick-or-treating if you are feeling unwell, if someone in your house is unwell, if you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, if you have recently returned from travel to a hotspot state or if you know that you have been exposed to COVID-19.

• Trick-or-treat as a household and maintain social distancing from other groups.

• Wear light colors or put reflective tape on costumes.

• Be careful when crossing streets and check both directions for cars.

• Do not enter any homes.

• Check all treats in a well-lit area after returning home and only eat unopened candy that is in the original packaging.

• Respect others and their property.

The CDC did offer suggestions for Halloween activities that are low risk. Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

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