There are few certainties about how Halloween will unfold this year, but one thing is likely: We’ll all be wearing masks. And if kids can trade in their surgical masks for the superhero kind, so much the better. Unfortunately, many of their usual Halloween expectations may go unfulfilled.
Most of the region’s traditional Halloween celebrations, from Croton’s annual hayrides to Briarcliff’s ragamuffin parade, have been cancelled. Not even Sleepy Hollow residents will be meeting the Headless Horseman this year. New York State Covid restrictions prohibit municipalities from gatherings of more than 50 people, explains Ossining Police Chief Kevin Sylvester.
“In the meantime,” says Chief Sylvester, “no one has made trick or treating around houses illegal.”
Despite Covid restrictions, community organizations, including libraries and parks and recreation departments, are gearing up to provide kids with some spirit-lifting activities this Halloween.
Croton-on-Hudson’s parks and recreation department is holding its annual Goblin Walk. Restricted to town residents, it also will be limited in scope and size to suit statewide Covid guidelines.
Peekskill, Cortlandt Manor, and Irvington parks and recreation departments are planning scaled–down events, with details posted on their websites.
Local libraries are picking up some of the slack by offering creative Halloween activities.
Amy Kaplan, Briarcliff children’s librarian, is inviting kids to dress up and make an appointment at the library to have their photo taken. Photos will be briefly posted on the library website so that kids can enjoy seeing one another in costume. Curbside Halloween goodie bags will also be distributed.
WITCH CRAFT PROVIDED
Irvington Public Library is an example of what most libraries are planning, offering different take-out craft kits along with an opportunity to meet in a Zoom room with fellow participants to assemble the craft.
Teens and tweens will construct Matchbox Halloweens, with matchboxes, paper, paints, trinkets, and vintage post cards provided, courtesy of the library. The younger kids will make witches’ fingers, according to librarian Linda Moser, who says, “It’s a pen wrapped in Air Dry White Clay with an artificial fingernail embedded at the end.”
Croton Free Library, Field Library in Peekskill, and Warner Library in Tarrytown will offer some version of Irvington’s program, including Halloween–themed crafts provided in grab– and–go craft kits, and spooky stories, selected for sharing rather than scaring, and read by librarians in Zoom rooms.
Hendrick Hudson Free Library, in Cortlandt Manor, is bringing Halloween to life for kids 4–8 years old, who will participate in a craft and story time inside the library.
LIBRARIES SHELVE OLD HAUNTS
Warner Library in Tarrytown had to scrap its Creepy Carnival this year, in favor of socially distanced craft kits and story times.
Ossining Public Library had to shelve its Haunted House event. This year, tHalloween has gone virtual with a somewhat tamer program, Halloween Mystery Night, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m.
For further information on Halloween programs, contact your local library.
Joy Alter Hubel is a freelance writer, librarian and yoga instructor in Westchester County.