Halloween isn’t officially canceled in Rutland, but a lot of parents are saying they’re not taking their kids trick-or-treating this year.
Mayor David Allaire said last week that while the Halloween parade had been called off for the first time in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his administration was not taking steps to restrict door-to-door candy seeking. He did, however, say that he expects to see significantly fewer trick-or-treaters.
“I think what we’re planning on doing at our house is putting a bucket of candy on the front porch,” Allaire said.
Alaura DuBray, of Rutland, said her children — ages 9 and 5 — won’t be showing up to take any candy. She is one of many parents planning to have their children skip trick-or-treating this year as the pandemic continues to cast a pall over large gatherings and close contacts.
“I felt so bad because of the boys, but they’re so receptive about what’s going on,” DuBray said. “They’re a little bummed, but they know we’re going to do everything we can to make it a great day. ... As much a we love Halloween, and love to go out, I would rather be in a good spot to spend time with family members at Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
Similarly, Danielle Monroe said she usually brings her children to Rutland from their more sparsely populated neighborhood in Mendon for trick-or-treating. Not this year, however.
“On Saturday night, we’ll be carving pumpkins with our neighbors,” she said.
However, Monroe said her children — ages 8 and 7 — will get to collect candy at a “trunk or treat” event at Barstow School Friday night — one of several such events being run by schools and other organizations. They will attend the Rutland Recreation and Parks Department’s “costume stroll” during the day Saturday.
“We felt like those were the events we were comfortable with the precautions being taken,” she said. “Hopefully, this is just one year.”
Monroe said her children were taking it well.
“They’ll still have a good time,” she said. “They’ll still get to put on their costumes. ... We’re more than six months into things being more than a little bit different. They know even if they get a little less candy, it’ll be made up for elsewhere.”
Lyle Jepson, of Rutland, said that his mother intends to put out individually bagged batches of candy, but that his own children — ages 11 and 13 — are staying home and relatives would deliver candy to their house.
“This is a tough time and our kids, at their age, understand,” he said.
A number of people in the city have said they were sadder about the parade having been canceled than they were the idea of not trick-or-treating. Jepson said there was some consolation to be found among the photos of parades past on display downtown.
“I think the spirit is still here and the spirit will carry on into the future and we will have parades again,” he said.
Elsewhere, other municipalities have taken different approaches to the holiday.
The Montpelier City Council did not outright forbid trick-or-treating, but did adopt a statement strongly recommending against it, pointing familieis to the CDC guidelines.
“It basically said if you do it, follow these practices, but we recommend against it,” City Manager William Fraser said. “People seem to be taking that seriously but I guess we won’t know until Saturday night.”
Waterbury normally closes Randal Street and Elm Street for a portion of the night on Halloween because they are heavily trafficked by trick-or-treaters. Municipal Manager William Shepeluk said they won’t close the streets this year.
“I think people in that neighborhood — where they have hundreds, if not thousands, of kids come to their door — most indicated a reluctance to have trick-or-treaters,” he said.
In Barre, the downtown partnership normally does an event where merchants are open for trick-or-treaters. City Manager Steven Mackenzie said that was called off a month ago in favor of a drive-through event. Then that was canceled last week due to the surge of COVID cases in central Vermont.
“There hasn’t been anything officially discouraging trick-or-treating, but I think tacitly that’s the message,” he said on Monday.