Communities aimto standardize times for trick-or-treating

CORY BYKNISH | Herald fileChilden line the sidewalks of Case Avenue in Sharon during the trick-or-treating in 2017. Mercer County communities are making a concerted effort this year to come up with a consensus on a single day, which likely will be Halloween itself, a Saturday.

HERMITAGE — Trick-or-treating is on this year in Mercer County despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but local municipalities plan to make sure children can participate safely.

In previous years, the Mercer County Regional Council of Governments would recommend a time and date for Halloween trick-or-treat at municipalities throughout Mercer County. Communities would be able to either follow COG’s lead or choose their own times.

At COG’s monthly meeting last Wednesday, Executive Director Kim DiCintio said the process will be done differently this year. COG will instead recommend that representative from the municipalities come up with a common time to help limit cross-municipal trick-or-treating, the practice where children go from one community to another to take advantage of staggered trick-or-treat times.

Greenville’s representative Paul Hamill said the town would set its hours for 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

With the pandemic restrictions, Hamill said safety measures in place at local schools seemed to suggest it would be safe enough for kids and their parents to go trick-or-treating if they chose to, and homes who want to participate can just turn on their porch lights.

With few accommodations for social distancing or masking — this being the season for masks — trick-or-treating could also help provide a sense of normalcy for local children.

“It’s safe for kids to be back in school, and Halloween is really for the kids, so why would it be safe for kids to be in school but not trick-or-treating?” Hamill said.

Hermitage representative Louis Squatrito and Sharpsville Mayor Alex Kovach said their communities could set its trick-or-treat for the same time.

Kovach said there could be anywhere from 300 to 900 trick-or-treaters at his home, depending on how many can visit from outside Sharpsville.

Though each municipality will have to approve its own trick-or-treat time those at Wednesday’s COG meeting expressed a desire to adopt the 4 to 6 p.m., Oct. 31, time and date.

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