Libertyville, other Lake County towns set guidelines for trick-or-treating in a pandemic

Trick-or-treating is expected to proceed in Libertyville under a set of guidelines designed to provide a safe experience for kids and residents.

"People are going to trick or treat whether we say yes or no, and we want to suggest some common sense rules," Mayor Terry Weppler said. Hours will be set at a future village board meeting, he said.

Meanwhile, downtown businesses are being surveyed but seem amenable to the traditional Trick or Treat on Main Street event, which has been held annually for about 25 years.

"MainStreet Libertyville is hoping to host a safe and fun trick-or-treat experience for families in downtown Libertyville while being mindful of the current health guidelines," said Jennifer Johnson, executive director.

Weppler said precautions will be similar to those outlined for residents in Lake Zurich.

In its online newsletter last weekend, Lake Zurich said the long-standing tradition of celebrating Halloween from 3 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31 will continue, but suggested nine safety precautions.

Residents who don't feel comfortable participating should use their porch light to signal their intentions. Those who do trick or treat are asked to respect the light off and not ring the doorbell, according to the rules.

Those who aren't feeling well, have returned from a hot spot state or are awaiting COVID-19 test results shouldn't participate, the guidelines say.

Other suggestions are that those participating or passing out treats should wear face masks, and trick-or-treaters should travel as a household and avoid other groups.

Also, individually packaged treats, rather than a communal candy bowl, should be used. Kids should be asked what type of candy they like rather than letting them take it themselves.

How to proceed varies by community. Deerfield, for example, is not prohibiting the practice but is "strongly discouraging" it, according to a survey of about two dozen communities by the Northwest Municipal Conference.

"We know people are going to go regardless," said Kyle Kordell, assistant to the village manager in Lake Zurich. He noted Halloween is not a village event in the same way as Rock the Block or others at Paulus Park, and there is no governing ordinance or code.

"It's hard to cancel something you're not in control of," Kordell said.

Vernon Hills drew attention last year by postponing trick-or-treating hours because of predicted snow and subfreezing temperatures. That likely won't be the case this year.

"Like Buffalo Grove, we may not endorse it, but we will not prohibit it unless the governor weighs in and outright bans it," Village Manager Mark Fleischhauer said.

The matter will be discussed Oct. 6. There most likely will be recommended guidelines for those who choose to participate, he added.

The Lake County Health Department is referring people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which were updated this week, according to spokeswoman Hannah Goering.

The CDC considers door-to-door trick-or-treating, where treats are handed to kids, as a higher-risk activity for Halloween, and suggests lower and moderate risk alternatives.

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Trick-or-treating will be different this year because of the coronavirus, officials say. Daily Herald file photo
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