The celebration of Halloween in Greenwood this year will certainly be different — if it’s not canceled.
The City Council will vote during its meeting Tuesday on whether young trick-or-treaters will be allowed to go from household to household collecting candy this year.
Should the council vote to allow Halloween celebrations, various restrictions would be put in place.
Measures that may be considered in a city resolution would limit the age of trick-or-treaters to 10 or younger, limit the hours of trick-or-treating from around 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and limit children to trick-or-treating in their own wards.
Additionally, any trick-or-treater would need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and aside from wearing masks for their Halloween costumes, trick-or-treaters and adults would be required to wear facial coverings in accordance with the city’s mask mandate.
Mayor Carolyn McAdams said she had received several calls from concerned citizens asking her to cancel Halloween this year because of the fear that the coronavirus could spread.
Rather than outright cancel the holiday, McAdams said restrictions could be put in place to allow people to celebrate it while still trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Still, she said, the decision on whether Halloween goes on will be up to the council.
Ward 3’s Ronnie Stevenson, the council’s president, said he’s leaning toward canceling Halloween, and “there’s going to be several changes made if we decide to have it.”
Like McAdams, Stevenson said an age limit, curfew and neighborhood restrictions at the bare minimum would need to be put in place.
The neighborhood restriction would likely affect many children since trick-or-treaters from other areas of town often go to Grand Boulevard each year to collect candy.
McAdams said police would have patrols out in each of the city’s seven wards to enforce the restrictions. She also said officers who are familiar with various communities will know in which neighborhoods the children reside.
On neighborhood restrictions, Stevenson said, “I’m just hoping it can be self-enforced.”
Ward 6’s David Jordan said he doesn’t think Halloween should be canceled but believes limitations should be enacted.
“COVID-19 is real, and we’ve had enough experience with it to know it is real,” he said, adding that he agrees that a neighborhood restriction “in my opinion would be safer.”
Ward 1’s Johnny Jennings said he is “on the fence” about Halloween.
He said he understands the excitement children feel about it but also knows people want to end the pandemic. He said he’s gotten calls from numerous residents in his ward — some who have pressed him to vote to cancel Halloween and others who want the celebration to go on.
Jerrika Goss, a Greenwood mother of five children ranging in age from 6 to 13, said a Halloween cancellation would be a letdown for her two youngest children.
“They’ll be highly disappointed if we’re not able to dress up and go out,” she said.
She suggested that Halloween could still take place with various precautions, such as residents placing candy outside their homes in order to limit contact.
Furthermore, Goss said, canceling Halloween when other social activities have resumed doesn’t seem fair.
“I think that if we’re allowed to go out to ball games and other events, then our kids should be able to go out trick-or-treating and enjoy their friends,” she said.
Some other Mississippi cities have canceled trick-or-treating or other Halloween events because of the coronavirus. Last week, the Greenville City Council voted to cancel traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating while encouraging other safer ways to celebrate.
Numerous trick-or-treating and other fall events throughout cities in southern Mississippi and the Gulf Coast, such as Gulfport, Kiln and Biloxi, have also been canceled because of the coronavirus.
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