Chris Gerhardt –
Most people often associate Fall with orange for a multitude of reasons. The changing of the leaves is an obvious one, but more often than not pumpkins are the reason people think orange in Autumn. Typically this time of the year would be one filled with people talking about costumes and trick-or-treating. Photos of groups in costume would eventually make their way to social media and parents would be out in droves buying candy for the eventual throngs of children lining up at their door after dark.
Sadly the rise of COVID-19 has had people questioning whether or not some cities would even have trick-or-treating in the first place. With Governor Charlie Baker leaving the policies of Halloween to city leaders in Massachusetts just about every town is reacting differently.
Towns such as Ashburnham and Leominster are still having trick-or-treating albeit with the stipulation that those involved follow the recommended CDC and Mass. Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines. Naturally these guidelines include wearing appropriate masks not costume ones as well as maintaining social distancing from others.
Fitchburg on the other hand has canceled trick-or-treating across the city in the wake of 132 confirmed cases of COVID-19, also taking into consideration the spread of COVID-19 among 28 attendees of Fitchburg’s Crossroads Church on Oct. 18. That said the city has also created various safe events for people to attend in place of trick-or-treating or the annual Trick-or-Treat on Main Street. While more information on these events can be found at the city’s website two outdoor movie events are scheduled for Halloween night and the night before.
Fortunately there are other ways to celebrate and various members of local communities have found ways to still enable kids to enjoy their Halloween. Westminster police and fire departments have band together to deliver candy to elementary school students in an effort to normalize things to a degree.
Another addition to this Halloween outreach has been the local Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Leominster, which has created a curbside trick-or-treat people were able to sign up for. With the option for a quick and safe drive through trick-or-treat slots managed to fill in for this event rather quickly. Still it goes a long way in showing just how much effort people across the state are putting in to keep some special parts of the season going.