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State guidance on trick-or-treating leaves some officials in DuPage, Cook counties in limbo

Communities in DuPage and Cook counties are hoping to save Halloween this year.

Some cities around the country have already taken steps to ban trick-or-treating over concerns for the spread of the coronavirus.

Community leaders in DuPage and Cook counties offered differing guidance on trick-or-treating.

In La Grange, officials say plans for trick-or-treating are up in the air.

“The village staff and I have talked about it several times,” La Grange Village President Mark Kuchler said. “We’re really waiting on the governor to see what we’re going to allow. We’re trying to follow the governor’s directions.”

Typically, cities will designate hours in which trick-or-treating is allowed.

Kuchler said he doesn’t know if the governor will issue guidance to make it shorter. But he also said because Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, it’s not clear if the designated hours could be longer.

Halloween has become a talking point between residents and village officials.

“We have heard from several residents,” Kuchler said. “People are trying to come up with creative ideas. I think it’s definitely on people’s minds.”

Elsewhere in Glen Ellyn, the village is assuming the position that Halloween is not governed by government but the residents.

“We do not make decisions on Halloween, “ Glen Ellyn Village President Diane McGinley said. “Halloween is considered a resident event. We don’t condone it. We don’t not condone it.”

At the same time, the village is providing some guidelines for residents to follow.

“Our guidelines include if you would like to participate in trick-or-treating, leave your lights on,” McGinley said. “If you do not want to participate, you turn your outside lights off.”

The village has not yet designated its trick-or-treating hours.

“Usually, we will issue some type of guidelines, but there’s no enforcement,” McGinley said. “It’s not an ordinance; it’s not a law. It’s just a suggestion.”

In neighboring Wheaton, residents are welcome to go trick-or-treating. The village does not take issue with allowing it.

“The trick-or-treating hours have always been limited,” Wheaton Mayor Philip Seuss said.

Seuss said there will no be added restrictions imposed by the city upon residents in light of COVID-19.

“We don’t know what the governor will make about what the ramifications of that might be,” he said.

Seuss explained the village’s position further, saying, the decision will be left to the individual.

“Our thought is that that’s going to be an individual decision as to whether or not parents want to have their children trick-or-treat, and it’s going to be an individual decision as to whether or not homeowners answer their doors,” he said.

Meanwhile in Westmont, officials have been having early discussions on this topic.

“We have no intention of canceling it, but what we want to do is make it safe for those who are trick-or-treating and those who want to provide the treats,” Westmont Mayor Ron Gunter said.

The village wants to reinforce a message to the public about when households don’t want to engage with trick-or-treaters and when they do.

Gunter said the village is looking to do further research in preparation for Halloween.

In Downers Grove, the village maintains its support for the health and safety of residents in response to COVID-19.

“That’s the primary focus for the village throughout the pandemic,” Downers Grove Mayor Bob Barnett said.

The village intends to make sure that residents are aware of local and state health department guidance as it relates to COVID-19.

Barnett said some residents have questioned if the village would consider banning trick-or-treating.

“A number of folks have touched base and asked,” he said. “I’ve told them the same thing, we’ll just continue to give out the direction from the state and county health departments.”

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