COVID Redefines A CJ Halloween

The leaves are turning, the nights getting cool, and pumpkins are populating the roadside stands. Yep, Halloween is just about here. Sadly, with the Clara Barton Community Center still closed, the Friends of Clara Barton C.C. will not be running the Haunted House this October. But what about trick-or-treating? Many neighbors have asked the CJCA what is happening in Cabin John.

The association has never endeavored to organize Halloween events, but they did open this topic up for discussion at the Sept. 10 CJCA Zoom meeting. The neighbors in attendance generally felt trick-or-treating could proceed, but the community should be encouraged to follow guidelines to increase safety and show respect for neighbors who don’t wish to participate.

In early October, Montgomery County issued guidance discouraging trick-or-treating and offering safer alternatives. The CJCA considered a number of ideas, but concluded that many still risk folks gathering in unsafe numbers or are difficult to implement safely in our small neighborhood streets.

The association hopes folks will still get in the Halloween spirit by carving pumpkins, making festive chalk drawings, and decorating their houses and yards. The Village News would love to have photo submissions of your Halloween décor as well as costumed people and pets. Please send your photos to VNEditorial@gmail.com no later than Nov. 3 for possible publication
in the November newsletter.

WHAT ABOUT TRICK-OR-TREATING?
Despite the county guidance against it, the CJCA expects that some CJ residents will opt to let their kids hit the streets, and others will gladly make treats available.

Should you choose to trick-or-treat, the CJCA encourages everyone to follow these important guidelines to minimize the risk of spreading COVID while participating in this Halloween tradition.

FOR PEOPLE PASSING OUT GOODIES

  • Only offer commercially-wrapped treats. Skip the bowl and spread the treats out on the table or make individual grab-n-go bags.
  • Put your goodies on a table in front of the house or at the end of the driveway so there is no touching of doorbells or crowding by entryways.
  • Put hand sanitizer on the table, and encourage trick-or-treaters to use it before picking up their treat.
  • If you are outside with your treats, wear a mask and stay at least six feet away from the table and the trick-or-treaters.
  • Encourage trick-or-treaters not to linger and discourage any congregating.

FOR TRICK-OR-TREATERS & PARENTS

  • At least one adult should supervise each group of trick-or-treaters to ensure that social distancing and other guidelines are followed.
  • Show respect for neighbors who don’t participate. No doorbell ringing! Only approach neighbors who have set up their offerings outside.
  • Wear the right masks. Costume masks do not necessarily provide protection. Incorporate a cloth mask into the costume. (A fun pre-Halloween activity might be to get a white or black mask and have your child paint or draw on it to make it work with their costume.)
  • Trick-or-treat only with family members or those kids that are part of your quarantine pod. Do not invite folks outside of Cabin John into the neighborhood to trick-or-treat with you.
  • Maintain six feet of distance between groups and from neighbors passing out treats.
  • If a particular street becomes congested, trick-or-treating groups should stay to the right side of the street in the direction they are moving.
  • Candy and treats should not be eaten while trick-or-treating. Better to wait until home after hands are washed.

With Halloween falling on a Saturday AND a full moon, we hope our CJ ghouls and goblins can have some safe outdoor fun however you choose to celebrate.

Remember: keep wearing masks, stay six feet apart, and wash hands! We’re headed into flu season, and this is no time to let up!

BY NANCY RUSSELL
Outgoing CJCA Vice President of Community Outreach

Addendum:
A map is being developed to mark homes that have agreed to participate in safe, socially-distanced trick-or-treating. To add your house to the map, fill out this short google form.

The map will be shared with the CJ Neighborhood and CJCA listservs no later than Saturday morning (October 31).

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