by Dennis Dalman
St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz wants all residents – especially parents – to be aware that Halloween activities pose Covid virus risks to children, according to guidelines released by the National Centers for Disease control.
Not advised are trick-or-treat events with large groups, costume parties, haunted houses, hayrides/tractor rides and other large-crowd events. All of those are considered unsafe, high-risk activities, the CDC announcement warns.
Candy should be wrapped individually or in individual goodie bags, and placed on a table, driveway or porch for trick-or-treaters to pick up themselves.
It is not recommended to use bowls of treats that allow individuals to reach in and grab candy, nor is it recommended that residents give out treats by hand.
“However,” Schultz said, “we understand some organizations are already scheduling certain activities for trunk-or-treating. In that spirit, I am stressing diligence, common sense and safety precautions if you choose to participate in Halloween activities. I want everyone to understand it is a choice and does come with risk.”
Trunk-or-treat is the name for a Halloween activity in which organizations/families park vehicles in a lot and have candy in the vehicles’ trunks for children. It is considered a safe alternative to trick-or-treating door-to-door along dark streets.
Little ghouls and goblins can collect pre-wrapped treats while in their choice costumes, but they should be sure to maintain safe social distancing, to wear protective face masks and to keep gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
“I suggest trick-or-treating only in smaller family groups, staying in your own neighborhood, and using hand sanitizer often,” Schultz said. “And Halloween masks are not considered protective face coverings.
“St. Joseph wants to provide safe opportunities to enjoy activities like Halloween,” he added. “The city has had to cancel some events, but we want to assure you there are some fun activities available for children. Just like any other year, some will choose not to participate in Halloween, nor hand out candy. In the past years, no lights on at a residence simply meant no trick-or-treating. Have a safe and happy Halloween!”
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.