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Trick or treating in a COVID world

Many Evanstonians found ways today to adapt the Halloween trick-or-treat tradition to a pandemic-changed world. But others found the idea just a little too risky.

Karla Ahern with her sons.

Contactless candy delivery. Masks under masks. And secret treats at home so you don’t have to give the kids what they collect. Those were among the Halloween accommodations this evening in Evanston.

Mark and Karla Ahern were out with their two sons, five-year-old Emmett, and three-year-old Connor. Both of the boys were dressed as Spiderman. Karla said she and her husband were “well aware” of coronavirus, and took precautions so their children could have fun while staying safe.

The boys wore their usual COVID masks underneath their Halloween masks. The children avoided houses where they would have come in close contact with people at the door. And the Aherns kept some candy hidden at home for the boys, so they could dispose of whatever was collected in the neighborhood but the children could still have treats.

The City of Evanston issued trick-or-treat safety guidelines, such as don’t consider a costume mask to be adequate COVID protection. Wear an appropriate cloth covering. Bring hand sanitizer along, and maintain six-foot distance from other trick-or-treaters outside of those in your own household.

Patricia Stankovic with her candy slide.

Some homeowners had tables full of candy at the end of their driveways. No need to come to the door. Patricia Stankovic had another idea. Dressed in a spooky costume on her porch, Stankovic had built a homemade slide for “contact free” candy delivery from the porch down to the bottom of the stairs. She would drop candy on the slide. That candy would end up in an orange Halloween bowl, where kids could grab the sweets.

Some folks decided to opt out of the candy distribution tradition in deference to the pandemic, including one reader who sent in this photo from Wilmette.

Clearly this was not a normal Halloween. But for the Aherns, it was important to give their kids a bit of fun, because, as Karla put it, “the next two holidays,” Thanksgiving and Christmas, “won’t be anything like they usually are.”

keywords » COVID-19

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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