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Trick-or-treat

Annual Halloween ritual may look different this year

Area towns are choosing to restrict trick-or-treating times on Halloween as the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing. (Union file photo)
Area towns are choosing to restrict trick-or-treating times on Halloween as the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing. (Union file photo)

WASHINGTON — Trick-or-treating is going to look a little different this year for Washington County residents.

Area city councils have discussed what this year’s Halloween will look like as the COVID-19 pandemic still is widespread. Wellman, Kalona and Riverside have all decided to restrict trick-or-treating on Halloween to 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with the general guideline: If you feel uncomfortable, leave your light off.

Washington has not yet made any decision related to the event.

Though it may be early, cities want to make sure they have time to inform residents of the changes.

On a normal year, the City of Kalona does not have set trick-or-treat times. Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh recommended the time frame to keep consistency between communities.

Schlabaugh said in the past, Kalona would hold trick-or-treating on Thursday. Kids would have their friends from Riverside and Wellman trick-or-treat in Kalona and then go to the other towns on Halloween.

“This is going to eliminate kids jumping around,” Schlabaugh said.

Riverside came to the same decision after seeking out what surrounding communities decided.

“I thought we probably ought to do the same thing otherwise if you do something different you may get more or less from the other communities,” Riverside City Administrator Christine Yancey said.

The council members brought up a house in Riverside that makes hot dogs each year.

“I don’t know if they’re going to change things this year because of COVID,” a council member said.

Riverside and Kalona talked about creating information to promote time frame and other guidance to trick-or-treaters and parents.

One Riverside council member recommended handing out the candy and not letting kids reach into the bowl. Other recommendations included keeping groups small and encouraging social distancing.

“There’s going to be a lot of doctors and dentists this year,” one Kalona council member joked.

Along with changing trick-or-treat times, many communities and organizations have canceled Halloween parties.

The Kalona Optimist Club will not hold its annual party. Instead they are organizing a color contest with the schools and newspaper.

Wellman has also decided to cancel its Harvest Fest Party.