Red sign/green sign: How suburbs are solving the trick-or-treat dilemma

  • Elk Grove Village officials are asking residents who want to welcome Halloween trick-or-treaters this year to place this sign in their windows.

    Elk Grove Village officials are asking residents who want to welcome Halloween trick-or-treaters this year to place this sign in their windows. Courtesy of Elk Grove Village

  • Elk Grove Village officials are asking residents who do not want Halloween trick-or-treaters at their front doors this year to place this sign in their windows.

    Elk Grove Village officials are asking residents who do not want Halloween trick-or-treaters at their front doors this year to place this sign in their windows. Courtesy of Elk Grove Village

 
 
Updated 9/25/2020 6:25 AM

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives and fears swirl about a second wave later this fall, many are facing a dilemma over whether to welcome Halloween trick-or-treaters and how to let the costumed youngsters know to either ring the doorbell or steer clear.

Officials in at least two Northwest suburbs think they've come up with an innovative solution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Elk Grove Village plans to mail signs to each of its households for display in their front windows or doors on Halloween. One side of the 8-by-11-inch sign is colored green and says trick-or-treaters are welcome, so long as they're wearing masks. The other side is red and asks trick-or-treaters to stay away.

The signs will go out during the second week of October as part of the monthly village newsletter. They're also available for downloading and printing on the village website.

In nearby Rolling Meadows, city officials have similar plans to send out a "Trick or Treat Safely Here!" sign for residents to display in their front windows. On the other side is a list of safety tips, including those pertaining to COVID-19. The sign will be mailed to residents with their October utility bill, available at city hall, and on the city website.

Plans, however, for a city-sponsored, in-person Halloween trick-or-treating trail event at Kirchoff Road businesses were quashed last week by the city council. Many aldermen feared the festival could attract large crowds.

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Elk Grove Village officials say they developed the flippable sign concept as a way to safely celebrate Halloween, for those amenable to welcoming costumed children to their front doors, while acknowledging that others may not feel comfortable with trick-or-treating this year.

"We're protecting everyone with face coverings. We're protecting everyone with wrapped, sealed candy," Mayor Craig Johnson said. "We're protecting everyone that does not want a trick-or-treater -- just put up the red sign, they'll pass you by. If you want to welcome them, put up a green sign.

"But trick-or-treating will take place in Elk Grove Village," Johnson said. "It will go on. We're getting this village back to more normalcy -- in a safe way."

Village officials are requiring those going door-to-door -- both kids and adults -- to wear face coverings. Residents who open their doors are strongly encouraged to wear face masks and gloves, Johnson said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Officials also ask homeowners to place candy in each trick-or-treater's bag, as opposed to having kids reach into a communal bowl. And, they're asking that groups wait to approach a house until a previous group has left.

Johnson said village staff members consulted doctors and lawyers before announcing the candy giveaway plan.

The green and red sign idea also came about, he said, because it could be difficult to distinguish whether a house's lights are on or off during the Saturday daylight hours.

"These signs will work better," Johnson said.

The official village trick-or-treating hours will be 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

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