Aurora Allows for ‘Reimagined' Trick-or-Treating Amid the Coronavirus

For people not wanting to travel from house to house, the city thought of alternative solutions

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Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin announced Friday that the town will allow for "reimagined" trick-or-treating this October.

Aurora officials laid out a plan for trick-or-treating in the Chicago suburb that Irvin said will allow for Halloween traditions in a COVID-friendly manner.

"This will be a Halloween like we've never seen before," Irvin said.

In previous years, Irvin said trick-or-treating hours were 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Those hours will be extended this year from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to allow for groups to social distance.

The Aurora mayor said face masks and social distancing will be required for both trick-or-treaters and those distributing candy. He encouraged anyone showing signs of illness to refrain from participating this year.

For those trick-or-treating, Irvin asked that individuals or groups wait until others are done receiving candy to approach a house, and to wait until home to eat any candy.

Irvin asked those handing out candy to wear gloves and consider using individual bags of treats. The mayor also said the city will provide signs to put in homes as a health and safety marking.

For those not wishing to trick-or-treat but still hoping to carry on traditions, officials said Aurora will host a drive-through event on Oct. 31 for children to collect candy from city departments.

Aurora's annual haunted house attraction, Basement of the Dead, will open with new health guidelines, including Wednesday "Nights of Isolation" where groups can walk through with no actors.

Owner of the haunted house Jason Senecker said both visitors and employees must complete a temperature check and questionnaire before entering the attraction. Once inside, Senecker said everyone must wear masks and social distance.

Basement of the Dead will have limited capacity this fall with online tickets sold on 30-minute increments and no more than 10 people allowed inside at one time.

The DuPage County Health Department, which impacts portions of Aurora, said it is awaiting guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"IDPH is planning to offer the details around the end of this month," DuPage County Health Department spokesman Don Bolger said in a statement.

In suburbs like West Chicago, all events on city-owned property have been canceled through the rest of the year, which includes Halloween festivities like downtown trick-or-treating.

“It is a painful decision to have to make,” Mayor Ruben Pineda said in a statement. “Nobody loves a festival more than me, but nothing is more important than the health and safety of our residents and visitors. This decision was made in everyone’s best interest.”

In Naperville, spokeswoman Linda LaCloche told the Daily Herald "those who don't want trick-or-treaters should leave their coach lights off."

Meanwhile in suburbs like Elgin, city officials say no decision has been made on whether trick-or-treating will continue this year.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Tuesday that the city will not cancel Halloween, but people should expect to see different celebrations than previous years due to the coronavirus.

Arwady asked people to have conversations with their children about dressing up and keeping the excitement of Halloween in a new way.

"Be ready to be thinking differently and more creatively, as we make sure that we celebrate Halloween in ways that don't unnecessarily put put put us at risk,"
the top health official warned.

Arwady said Chicago will release more specific guidelines closer to Halloween as she said she worries about people "letting their guard down" due to the holiday.

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