Debbie McTigue’s South Windsor house isn’t haunted, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her front yard. Skeletons, the grim reaper, and a headless doorman are just part of her landscape this time of year.
McTigue said she likes to scare people on Halloween, all in good fun of course. This year, though, she knows things will need to be different, especially while handling trick-or-treats.
“I’ve spoken with a lot of neighbors. They’re going to have tables out and candy in bags. Which is what I’m going to do as well,” said McTigue.
Whichever way the candy gathering goes, kids know this Halloween will be different.
“I hope that there might be goodie bags on people’s lawns so that might be good and much quicker to collect,” said Daya Laurich, a 13-year-old from West Hartford who said she plans to dress as a fairy this year.
Finding ways to celebrate Halloween while keeping it safe is a challenge facing many communities.
Alternatives, like Mall-O-Ween at Westfarms, offer a free drive-thru trick or treat experience Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Organizers said they will give away 25,000 pieces of candy while taking steps to follow health guidelines.
“All of our cauldrons have been sanitized. It’s all coming from one location. Our staff will be masked as well as gloves,” explained Westfarms spokesperson, Amanda Sirica.
Despite the alternatives, some parents are playing it safe.
“I’m not even leaving candy at the door because the whole idea is contact,” said Tiffany Allecia of Hartford. “So, I want to have as little contact as possible.”
Some people we spoke with, though, said they will participate in trick-or-treating, although in a modified fashion.
“I’ll be wearing a mask. I’ll have gloves on but I am going to be handing out candy,” said Paige Haymond.
Meanwhile, back in South Windsor, the headless doorman has a message.
“We are social distancing. Keep your masks on and stay six feet apart but have fun and eat lots of candy,” it said in a mechanical voice.
That voice was sent remotely by McTigue who will adapt to COVID-19 protocols to preserve some Halloween tradition.
“It’s different but we’re going to make it work,” said McTigue. “We’ve got to make it work for the kids.”