There’s a trick in the treating this year, and the trick will be in the details as the City has announced Halloween trick-or-treating will be encouraged in the neighborhoods for a limited time on Oct. 31, but not everyone is on board with the decision.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced last week that Halloween was not cancelled and the City was encouraging young people to trick-or-treat in their neighborhoods from 5-7 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31.
The move was to present some normalcy for the children and to be able to enjoy the fun of costumes.
The mayor is requesting that the citizens of Everett celebrate the holiday in a safe, socially distanced fashion. Anyone choosing to participate is asked to wear a mask, wash their hands and keep six-feet apart. Anyone not wishing to participate, make sure to keep the front lights off.
“Halloween is NOT cancelled in Everett,” said the mayor. “As important as our health and wellness is, we must keep in mind the mental health of our children by creating some semblance of normalcy.”
But that move for normalcy has erupted in a bit of controversy, as other elected officials feel the move isn’t wise given the level of contagion brewing in Everett.
Councilor Gerly Adrien had requested a coordinated Halloween plan back in September from the Administration. She said she is happy to see a plan put out publicly, but said the plan doesn’t seem safe right now.
“I am happy to see Mayor DeMaria and his administration put something out about Halloween after I requested it in early September,” she said. “However, I am concerned that we are allowing trick-or-treating when the City of Everett is still in a high-risk red zone due to COVID-19. We need to figure out the best way for fun activities to continue, but in safe way. What was put out was not a real plan to put the resident’s safety and health first. I asked for a plan in early September to provide his administration with more time to come up with a better plan. This again has fallen short.”
Councilors Stephanie Martins and Michael McLaughlin at the Council meeting last week – prior to Mayor DeMaria’s declaration – called on the mayor to host a drive-thru Halloween event with a socially-distanced costume parade at RiverGreen. That proposal was not adopted as of yet, and both said they agree with Adrien that the idea of regular trick-or-treating may be risky.
“The right thing to do given the current circumstances would be to completely ban Halloween like other cities have done,” said Martins. “The last thing we need is kids and parents gathering and knocking on doors as we have seniors and immune-compromised individuals that are vulnerable, and we also need our kids to be healthy so we can move on to the hybrid phase of the school reopening plan… The decision to fully allow Halloween to proceed as usual was very surprising given the Mayor’s tight grip during this pandemic. I guess the majority of the parents were also very satisfied with that decision. I hope everyone gets to be safe while enjoying their Halloween.”
McLaughlin said he is asking the mayor to reconsider the position of full-on Halloween, and host the event at RiverGreen. He also said he was disappointed with Gov. Charlie Baker for not providing more strict guidance and regulations for Halloween in communities like Everett.
“I ask Mayor DeMaria to reconsider his decision of having Halloween go as normal, as if we were not going through the worst health crisis we have ever seen,” he wrote in a letter to the newspaper. “I agree with the mayor that we need to allow the children to enjoy the excitement of dressing up and the fun of trick-or-treating, but we can do this in a well-organized and safe fashion…This is about the children, they need this time to have fun. It may possibly be the last holiday before the weather turns and we will once again need to practice our social distancing indoors.” Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, and officially the lights are on in Everett from 5-7 p.m. for those that want to participate. Those that do not are advised to keep their porch lights off.