Prepare for ghouls and goblins to prowl the neighborhoods again in 2020, following the green-light from both Nelsonville and Athens city councils.
In mid-September, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health issued guidance on how municipalities and communities may still hold trick-or-treating during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. During that announcement, he reminded Ohioans to take precautions such and physical distancing and wearing masks, despite the holiday.
In light of this, both of Athens County’s cities have moved to continue with the annual event.
In Nelsonville, children have been invited to trick-or-treat within the city to houses with well-lit porches on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5:30-7 p.m.
In Athens, trick-or-treating has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Of course, gatherings and parties are still in violation of the statewide orders to physically distance from others, and limit attendance of any events to 10 or fewer people. The orders also stipulate that gatherings should be held outside, if possible, to help with ventilation and preventing the spread of COVID-19 through airborne droplets.
Certain classic activities are also off the table — bobbing for apples, for one. However, there are other ways to celebrate the ghoulish holiday.
The Ohio Department of Health and the Athens City-County Department of Health recommend that revelers follow these guidelines:
- Participating households should turn on the front porch light — assume any house without a light on is not participating.
- Wear a face mask — this is still mandatory within the city due to the ordinance passed earlier this year. “A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask,” the city further warned in a press release. Children under 2 and those that cannot remove a face covering should not wear a mask.
- Maintain a 6-foot physical separation between groups. The city also recommended that families limit the number of houses they visit.
- For small children, consider holding the bag for them.
- Wipe off candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes once home again.
- Carry hand sanitizer and use it often.
- Allow children to eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats made by strangers.
- Reach out to neighbors to discuss ways to ensure 6-foot social distancing, how candy can most safely be distributed and the need for face coverings.
- Refrain from having children select their own treats from a bowl/common container or set up a hand-sanitizing station.
- Consider creative ways to distribute treats, such as using a candy “slide” made of PVC pipe, or hanging treats from a wall or fence.