By Patrick Forrest
Gary Mayor Jerome Prince announced that all door-to-door trick-or-treating will be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city will instead allow businesses to hold Halloween events on private property.
“This order is in accordance with the CDC’s guidance and traditional trick-or-treating, as they say, is a surefire way to help spread the virus,” Prince said during his most recent COVID-19 video update.
“I know this will come as a disappointment to many people, including myself and those around me, but we must continue to try protect our community.”
Residents will be allowed to hold Halloween parties this year, but will need to submit a plan and get approval from the Health department.
“If these events are carefully controlled, we can ensure that children and others will not contribute to the spread of the virus,” Prince said.
Despite the changes in future planning for the holiday, Mayor Prince was very pleased with the direction the city has been going with number of infections and hopes to keep things going correctly.
“Since August 20th, we’ve seen only three days where the numbers of covid 19 cases were in the double digits for the week and we have seen new cases in the low to mid single digits,” Prince said. “This is incredibly important to understand because of our work together, we have significantly cut the number of Gary residents who have become infected with the virus, and this continues every day.”
Other towns in the area have different levels of what they will allow on Halloween night. Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy announced that the decision would be left up to individual parents and that the city would not stand in the way at all.
“Parents will want to decide how big their trick-or-treat group is and make sure their kids wash their hands frequently before they rip open the goods due to the COVID,” Murphy said.
“We thought it was appropriate to do it and safely. Other communities obviously are doing it as well. It’s important for kids to get back to some level of normalcy in their lives. This has been a big curveball for children this year with the masks and the e-learning and the remote learning.”
Hammond will also be allowing the children to go door-to-door but will also offer trunk-or-treating as an option this year, according to Special Events Coordinator Donna Muta.
“It’s not the kids going trunk to trunk, and we’ve told all of our vendors to have a Halloween mask on or a medical mask, and be sure that they even wear gloves because they’ll be handing the candy into the car for the kids,” Muta said.
“So we’re expecting the door-to-door to be lighter, but Mayor (Thomas) McDermott wanted to make sure that there were multiple options for families to take advantage of.”