CHICAGO — Decked out in a “‘Rona Destroyer” costume, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that city kids will be able to dress up and trick or treat this Halloween — as long as parents follow some rules to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
Lightfoot, wearing a superhero mask and armed with Clorox bleach wipes, joined Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Health, in laying out Halloween guidelines and announcing a week of activities.
While state officials advised minimal Halloween celebrations, Lightfoot acknowledged that parents plan to take their kids out — and wanted to ensure there were safe ways to do so.
Here are the rules:
- Everyone, including people giving out candy, must wear a face covering.
- If you do plan to give candy to kids, leave a light on or put a sign up in your window indicating that your home is participating in safe trick-or-treating.
- Maintain social distancing and have hand sanitizer available.
- Keep it moving — don’t congregate in front of one stoop or on the sidewalk.
- Make sure kids only eat candy after washing their hands when they get home.
- No haunted houses, which Arwady described as “truly spooky” due to their potential germ-spreading.
- Keep your trick-or-treating crew small, specifically six people or fewer. Sticking to members of your household or quarantine “bubble” is recommended.
- No house parties. “We are more worried about adults indoors than children outdoors trick or treating,” Arwady said.
Arwady also highlighted some inventive ways families are already planning to give out candy. One family set up a PVC pipe which allows the resident to drop candy down the tube while maintaining distance from the child collecting the goods.
“We’re gonna be out, having fun, but keep as safe as we can,” Arwady said.
Aside from trick-or-treating on October 31, the city will also host a series of events and giveaways for an entire week leading up to the holiday, which they’re dubbing “Halloweek.”
The Blommer Chocolate Company has offered to donate 10,000 bags of candy to kids, Lightfoot said. The city is asking other businesses with COVID-friendly Halloween plans to let them know here and and the city’s website will feature a searchable list of all Halloweek programming starting Oct. 18.
Arwady said the city is able to have these safe celebrations due to declining coronavirus numbers.
“We’ve made some good progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks but don’t want to see that reversed, especially with cold weather coming and people spending more time indoors,” Arwady said.
As of Thursday, Chicago and the region that includes the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign are the only regions in the state with a case positivity rate under 5 percent. Chicago’s rate was 4.3 percent as of Thursday, down from 4.6 percent.
The city also reached a testing milestone, with more than 1.1 million COVID tests conducted to date, Arwady said.
Do you have a creative trick or treat set-up you want to share? Email email@example.com!
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.