October 28, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Mayor to encourage board to allow trick-or-treating

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges is going to encourage the village board to allow Trick-or-Treating.


Fruhling-Voges said she had examined guidelines and spoken to other mayors before making her decision.


“My recommendation to the board will be to allow trick or treating,” she said.

Fruhling-Voges said she would be making the recommendation today via email and the decision would be formalized at the first October board meeting.

Fruhling-Voges said the trustees may decide to hold a committee meeting to discuss it but she felt the decision was an easy one.


“My recommendation will be to shorten the hours to 5 p.m. to 7 p.m,” she said.  “And remind people that if you don’t want to have trick-or-treaters to your door, leave your porch light off. Those out treating will be reminded to please only visit those homes with porch lights on”


Fruhling-Voges said if everyone follows current guidelines of social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands she feels the event can be done safely.


“Parents and the community can make their own decision on how much risk they can tolerate,” she said. “No one is forced to participate either way.  I believe trick-or-treating will not put our community in any additional risk for exposure.”


Voges said she is considering having the village sponsor a contest on who can deliver candy to trick-or-treaters in the most creative manner.


“I have seen a couple of cute ideas,” she said.


Fruhling-Voges said those out trick-or-treating could send in their recommendations for the best idea with a photo to the village and the address of the house. The house with the most submissions would receive a gift card from local businesses.


Fruhling-Voges is also thinking about how to do her annual Halloween Parade in a safe way.


“There should be a safe way to have the little ones show off their costumes,” she said. “We can’t let the COVID take away all the fun things in life!   While the weather cooperates for outside activities we need to be creative to let the kids enjoy some of the things that make Fall so enjoyable.”


Fruhling-Voges stressed she takes the pandemic seriously and those who participate in the parade if it is held, will have to wear masks and social distance.

The Illinois Department of Public Health released guidelines for Trick-or-treating yesterday.

Neighborhood trick-or-treating
1. As an alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating, anyone who would like to distribute treats should leave individually wrapped candy or treats on a table, on their front walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space that allows for at least 6 feet of social distance from the door. The individually wrapped candy should be spread out so each piece is not touching another. Anyone distributing candy or treats should wash their hands properly for at least 20 seconds before placing the candy on the table and when replenishing.
2. All individuals participating in trick-or-treating, including those passing out candy should maintain social distance of least 6 feet and wear proper face coverings. A costume mask, such as those worn for Halloween, is not a substitute for a face covering. If face coverings are worn under costume masks, please ensure this does not create breathing problems, and if so, discard the costume mask.  
3. Only household members should trick-or-treat together, and they should maintain 6-feet social distance from other trick-or-treaters at all times. Mixed household trick-or-treaters are discouraged.
4. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be carried and used frequently.
5. Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be consumed until after handwashing. As always, a parent/guardian should check all candy to make sure it is wrapped and should discard unwrapped candy.
6. And, of course, practice good dental hygiene as well.
7. Outdoor areas are preferred for trick-or-treating. Enclosed indoor areas, like apartment buildings, present greater risk of transmission. Open doors and windows as appropriate to promote increased ventilation.
Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating
Trunk or treat events are considered a higher risk activity and are discouraged. An alternative activity involves trick-or-treating in a large parking lot or other outdoor setting with adherence to social distancing. Tables are pre-set up with participants allowed to parade with a parent/guardian while maintaining at least 6-feet social distancing and wearing proper face coverings at all times. A limited number of people should staff the event, keeping tables replenished and monitoring social distancing. Proper handwashing should be performed before candy is consumed.  
1. Recruit a set number of table sponsors.
2. Create a timed entry schedule to figure out what the attendance limit will be.
3. Create a map of where tables will be with plenty of space between.
4. Advertise with information about reserved time slots, social distancing, and mask wearing.
5. Package candies or favors in treat bags for easy distribution.
6. Create signage to direct the flow of foot traffic.
7. Draw markers on the ground to indicate 6 feet for social distancing.
8. Mask up and enjoy!
Other Halloween Activities and Events
Haunted Houses, Forests, or Walks
• Halloween haunted houses are currently not allowed in Restore Illinois Phase 4 Guidelines. Instead consider open-air, one-way haunted forests or haunted walks where social distancing of 6 feet or greater and appropriate masking is enforced.  If screaming is anticipated, even greater social distancing is advised to lower the risk of spreading respiratory viruses.
Pumpkin Patches, Orchard Visits, and Hayrides
• Visitors to these locations should use hand sanitizer before handling the produce.  Cloth face coverings and social distancing should be enforced.
• Hayrides should not exceed 50% capacity with parties spaced at least six feet apart. Best practice is for hayrides to be limited to members of the same household. Participants should wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered at all times when around people who don’t live in your household.
Fall Festival Events
• Avoid attending fall festivals outside your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19. 
Social Gatherings, Costume Parties in Adult Settings, Halloween Parties at Bars
• Large gatherings with more people are considered higher risk than smaller group gatherings, and must adhere to event size limitations
• Indoor parties or gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), wearing masks, handwashing, or otherwise participating in prevention behaviors will result in a higher risk for transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness. These types of gatherings are strongly discouraged.
• Use of alcohol or drugs can impair judgement and result in increased risky behaviors.
• Gathering with groups of people who routinely do not adhere to prevention measures or those who travel from areas with increased community transmission will increase the risk for others at the party or gathering.
• The more time you spend at a gathering, the closer the contact, the more people, the higher your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
• For more information, refer to IDPH’s Small Social Gathering Safety Tips

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