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Preparing for a Halloween like no other

At least there will be no shortage of masks. So goes one joke about Halloween 2020. It will be upon us in just a few weeks.

Halloween rivals Christmas in some ways in popularity among children. Each October, they delight in dressing up and ringing doorbells or knocking on doors, greeting people with, “Trick or treat!”

We adults — many of us, anyway — enjoy seeing them. Is that Joey from down the street behind that superhero mask? Is that Susie from school dressed up as Cinderella? Take another handful of candy, kids.

How do we explain to the children that this year is different — or that there will be no Halloween this time?

Officials in some local and state governments have begun thinking about the situation. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will not prohibit trick-or-treating but does not recommend it, either. The Saranac Lake village board and the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce canceled the annual downtown trick-or-treating on Oct. 31, when businesses give out untold amounts of candy. (The Enterprise sponsors the Saranac Lake event.) The Lake Placid Police Department canceled its annual elementary school party and middle-high school dance on that day. The fate of Lake Placid’s kids’ costume parade and downtown trick-or-treating has not yet been decided.

Other seasonal gatherings such as hayrides and haunted houses should probably be avoided.

But what about neighborhoods?

Many parents will allow their children to go trick-or-treating, whether the activity is sanctioned or not. Count on it. That may be taking a chance with COVID-19, but rest assured, it will happen. It will be up to individual households to decide whether their children dress up and hit the street.

Our advice on that is to be very, very careful.

There is nothing wrong with taking the year off from this particular tradition.

For many households, especially those including older people, answering the door on Halloween will not be a good idea. Perhaps setting a bowl of candy outside and watching the kids from a window is an option.

Maybe, instead of having all the kids stick their hands into the same bucket, a household can get creative with ways to parcel out one portion of sweets to each trick-or-treater.

Meanwhile, local and state governments, recognizing that Halloween is going to happen, would do well to release realistic guidelines on it, designed to keep everyone as safe as possible. The sooner that is done, the better.

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