Tomorrow you will be perhaps making your most important vote of your political careers. This one vote could make or break your future bids for re-election. Whatever you decide could cause an uproar among your constituents from 5 to 95 and you know it. What our town wants to know is…
Will you allow door to door Trick or Treating?
This question has caused the greatest debate in our community since the decision of hybrid or remote learning, and fortunately for you, that was not your concern. But now, you find yourselves facing a similar decision as your dedicated elected counterparts on the School Committee.
As a teacher, I can tell you that Halloween is second, only to Christmas, in a school aged child’s mind, as far as holidays go. The day I introduce the month of October, I am told that the name of the month is Halloween and I am reminded daily of their costumes! It makes for a long 31 days…
But, before you decide, I want to provide you with some history of Halloween so you will have all of the facts. According history.com, Halloween as we know it now, began in the late 1800s as a way to turn a morbid observance of ghosts and witchcraft into a holiday about community gatherings; focusing on costumes and seasonal food.
Unfortunately, in the 1920s and 1930s some people decided that vandalism was how they wanted to celebrate this occasion. So, in order to prevent their homes from being vandalized, families would provide the children with a treat and a new tradition was born. Trick or Treat.
Here we are, one hundred years later faced with a conundrum. Do we allow our children to go door to door for a candy treat and risk a potential spread of Covid? Or do we say it is cancelled and risk a night of community vandalism or house gatherings that spread the virus anyways?
A vote for the traditional holiday experience offers your citizens a choice. If you are an adult who is at risk, you can decide to turn your light off or leave a bowl outside your door. If you are a parent of an at risk child, you can decide to make your own celebration at home. We already have mask and 6 feet of social distance requirements that should be encouraged to follow and parents can “quarantine” or “disinfect” the candy wrappers and give their children hand sanitizer after each house. It also gives our youth some sense of normalcy in a year that has been anything but normal.
On the other hand, we have the thought of potential Covid carriers going door to door sharing their germs with treat-giving neighbors, many of whom are at a higher risk for complications from this disease or carriers themselves. The potential for an increased outbreak in the community is real. No one wants that, not even the CDC!
You might think I am over-reacting, and I pray that I am. But let’s be real here. The coronavirus has brought out the best and the worst in people. Peaceful protests have been highjacked by delinquents looking a “reason” to display their destructive behaviors for months now. What would make cancelling Halloween traditions any different? One hundred years ago, our country had a pandemic and people vandalized, what is to say that history won’t repeat itself?
The reality is, Halloween is on a Saturday. If you cancel “trick or treating”, it is just going to encourage families to get together for house parties, making your efforts to protect our children null.
Tomorrow you will vote, already well aware of the potential risks and benefits of your decision.
Do you keep the annual tradition as is and let the people of our town decide what is best for them and their children? This vote puts the responsibility of decision making at the hands of citizens.
Or, do you vote to suspend traditional door to door trick or treating as a way to prevent a potential community outbreak in a town that is already in the “red zone” knowing that many citizens may not behave responsibly?
You are the elected official and fortunately for me, I am not the one who has to vote on this conundrum. The good news is that I do not have young children to worry about. I will be fine with whatever you feel is in the best interest of our community. Let’s just hope that the rest of our town feels the same way!
What do you think? Should municipalities allow the traditional door to door trick or treating? Or should they prohibit it this year in an effort to protect its citizens? Do you think we should rename the month of October to Halloween to save teachers from constantly saying, ” The name of the month is October and Halloween is a holiday on the VERY LAST DAY of the month!”?