With the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health issuing guidelines for keeping Halloween festivities safe during a pandemic, leaders in Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside won’t discourage trick-or-treating on Oct. 31, but they are urging residents to take commonsense precautions.
In addition, each of the villages’ parks and recreation departments will host safe Halloween-themed activities to put a little sparkle in what has been an extraordinary year, bereft of most traditional community events and celebrations.
“I think this is great news,” said Brookfield Trustee Michael Garvey during a discussion of the subject at that village board’s meeting on Sept. 28. “I think it’s great to be able to save this.”
The decision not to interfere in the time-honored tradition of trick-or-treating was made in Brookfield even before the state issued its guidelines, with officials knowing there would be little they could do to enforce a ban, even if they’d wanted one.
The best solution, they felt, was to provide their own guidance to help trick-or-treaters avoid congregating in groups and to help identify which homeowners would be giving out treats that day.
Those welcoming trick-or-treaters are being asked to download a color poster indicating “Trick-or-treaters welcome here” from the village’s website (brookfieldil.gov) or pick one up from Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave. The flip side of the poster will include village guidelines regarding trick-or-treating.
Trick-or-treating hours in Brookfield will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Residents are asked to place those signs in front windows or on doors. They are also being asked to wear face coverings while passing out treats or, better yet, devising a no-contact way to distribute treats.
The Illinois Department of Public Health issued guidance on Sept. 30 that recommended setting up a table in driveways or next to sidewalks where kids can come by and take a treat and still maintain physical distancing.
The IDPH also said that costume masks were no substitute for masks worn to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that those coverings ought to be worn under costume masks. If that poses a problem breathing, according to the IDPH, ditch the costume mask.
The Brookfield Recreation Department has launched a contest to give residents safe and fun ideas for distributing treats. The Tricks and Treats Socially Distanced Candy Contest seeks photos and videos demonstrating easy no- and low-contact ways to engage trick-or-treaters.
People can request and submit entry forms by emailing recreation Director Stevie Ferrari at email@example.com. Submissions are due by Oct. 19 and Ferrari will post the winning submission and a photo/video compilation of all the ideas on the village’s and department’s Facebook pages a week before Halloween to give residents time to replicate an idea, if they choose.
The Brookfield Recreation department is also hosting a Witches Night Out on Oct. 30, an all-outdoor event for those 21-older, weather permitting. The night features live entertainment, tarot card readings, bonfires, photo booth, drinks, a merchant market and more.
Space is limited and the cost is $40 per person ($50 non-residents). Call 708-485-1474 or visit rectrac.brookfieldil.gov to register and for more info.
Ferrari said the department will also conduct a Halloween “parade’ on Oct. 31 featuring a costumed dance troupe that will travel throughout the village, performing a five to seven-minute routine to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
The Brookfield Recreation Department will publish the parade map listing the designated stops as early as this week.
“It’s one way of getting through the community for kids who might not be able to go out trick-or-treating for one reason or another,” Ferrari said.
Like Brookfield, the village of Riverside will be creating a window sign that can be downloaded or picked up at the village offices at the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road. Residents who are welcoming children are encouraged to display the sign in their front windows and doors on Oct. 31.
Trick-or-treating hours will be the traditional 3 to 7 p.m. and Village Trustee Edward Hannon urged village staff to make sure health and safety guidelines are well-publicized in advance of the day and for parents to make sure trick-or-treaters aren’t bunching up at doors.
“I think it really falls upon the adults … to use their better judgment on maintaining what we’ve been doing so far, which is social distancing and recommend that everyone wear masks, and if you are going to choose to hand out candy, recommend that you sanitize after every visit,” Hannon said.
Trustee Cristin Evans said she would discourage door-to-door trick-or-treating and encouraged residents to be creative in finding more socially distant solutions for treat distribution.
In the weeks leading up to Halloween the Riverside Department of Parks and Recreation will not only mark the season by lighting up the water tower at night with a suitably spooky display, they’ll host a couple of events for residents as well.
On Oct. 16, the department hosts a Drive-Thru Haunted House on Fairbank Road near the Scout Cabin. There will be two sessions, one for younger kids between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. and one for older kids from 5 to 6 p.m.
The street will be lined with decorations and costumed characters will be a spooky presence along the route, which cars ($13 per vehicle) can drive through at any time during each session. Each participating car will receive (in a no-touch fashion) a special surprise at the end of the path.
In place of the canceled Easter Egg Hunt last spring, the department is rolling out a Spooky Season Egg Hunt from Oct. 12-30. Register for $9 (Riverside residents only) to have 50 candy- and toy-filled eggs dropped off at your home or pick a day and recreation staff can swing by (for $13) and scatter them in your front yard.
Call 708-442-7025 or visit register.parksreconline.com/riverside.html to register.
There will also be a Virtual Witch’s Brew Story Time streaming live on the department’s Facebook page on Oct. 29 at 3:30 p.m., and the department is also inviting the entire community to participate in a house/door decorating contest and pumpkin carving contest.
Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best entries will be featured on Facebook and win prizes.
North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. announced Monday that families can trick-or-treat door-to-door in the village between 3 and 6 p.m. on Oct. 31, encouraging participants to wear face coverings at all times and maintain social distancing.
By the end of this week, he said, the village will have signs – green for yes and red for no – residents can place in their front windows or on front doors to let kids know whether or not they are passing out treats this year.
Residents who have vehicles bearing North Riverside vehicle stickers can also participate in the Boo-2-You Drive-Thru on Oct. 31 from 1 p.m. until supplies run out.
For North Riverside residents only, families can drive through Veterans Park (on 26th Street at Veterans Drive; enter near the concession stand) and receive a goody bag filled with treats. Costumed characters will line the route.
North Riverside Parks and Rec is also holding a Halloween home decorating contest, which is free to enter. The top three houses will be awarded prizes and a yard sign boasting the achievement. Houses will be judged Oct. 23.
On Oct. 20 from 6:30-8 p.m., the department will hold its first-ever Family Pumpkin Float. Families can pick up their pumpkins ($10/$12 non-resident) from Oct. 14-16, carve them and then bring them to the Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave., on Oct 20.
Staff will light the pumpkins and set them afloat in the commons pond while visitors enjoy the spectacle while socially distancing.
Finally, there will be a Family Pumpkin Carving event on Oct. 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Village Commons. For $11 you get a table, pumpkin and a carving kit to work your magic. Space is limited.
Register for events by calling 708-442-5515.