After more than two days of careful deliberation both during and following their last council meeting on Monday, Oct. 12, Kermit officials made the decision to allow door-to-door trick-or-treating within the town. However, earlier this week, the municipality reversed its previous decision while other communities are continuing to move forward with Halloween activities.
With added safety precautions in place as a condition — such as both kids and candy givers wearing face protection, practicing social distancing, as well as giving both kids and residents the option not to participate if so desired — town officials ultimately believed some part of the holiday could still be salvaged and voted to allow a limited version of trick-or-treat.
After a significant spike in COVID-19 cases occurred within the community during the last several days, town officials decided even the best in-place safety precautions were not enough to prevent further spread of the virus.
Mayor Charles Sparks said this was the determining factor behind council’s decision this week to cancel altogether all forms of Halloween activity within town limits.
“Due to the rise in (COVID-19) cases, the council just decided it is not safe to have any Halloween activities at all this year in the town of Kermit,” Sparks said Wednesday.
“And while this was not an easy decision to make, the council felt it was the right one and one that had the best interest of everyone involved.”
The original decision made by the Kermit Town Council followed on the heels of a Mingo County Commission ruling to allow Halloween activities -- including door-to-door trick-or-treating -- within the county.
The commissioners also debated the issue at length and discussed it with the county’s health administrator before reaching a decision. They finally came to an agreement that shifted the matter to one of personal responsibility. Local residents are allowed to take part in whatever manner they choose. If people feel comfortable with allowing children to come to their house and with giving out candy, it is their prerogative to do so. Likewise, it is up to each parent to make the decision as to whether their children will participate in the activity.
Trick-or-treat hours are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 31. The commissioners voted to make the hours earlier in the evening than normal to increase safety for children who will be walking along the roadways on a weekend evening. However, the commissioners said their policy only applies to unincorporated areas of the county and that each of the five municipalities must make their own rulings based on their individual community situation.
On Tuesday evening, Oct. 20, the Matewan City Council voted to follow the county’s lead on the issue and allow door-to-door trick-or-treating at the same time. Also, organizers of the town’s traditional Halloween party will be placing treat bags at the town pavilion on Saturday, Oc.t 24, for children to pick up because the party had to be cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions.
In a special meeting held last Thursday, Oct. 15, the Williamson City Council also voted to allow trick-or-treating with the city. In addition to the door-to-door tradition, a variety of activities will be conducted with the city as well.
Wes Wilson, executive director of the Tug Valley Area CVB, discussed his organization’s plans for the Halloween holiday which were approved by the council. The CVB will modify its traditional Spookfest into a drive through candy giveaway on Armory Drive from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This will be followed by the Williamson Fire Department’s Annual Steven Casey Fireworks Show at 8 p.m. and a West End Drive-In presentation of the classic horror film “Halloween” beginning at 9:30 p.m. In addition to these events actor Tony Moran who portrayed the character of Michael Myers in the original “Halloween” will be available for autographs and pictures. All of these events will be conducted in West Williamson on Oct. 31. (See the CVB social media pages for details.)
The town of Delbarton also voted last week to have door-to-door trick-or-treating. The Delbarton CVB will conduct a drive through trunk-or-treat as well at the Backwoods Camping and RV Park at Taylorville. Both of these events will also be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.
As in Kermit, there will be no door-to-door trick-or-treating in the town of Gilbert. However, a drive through trunk-or-treat event will be held at the Larry Joe Harless Community Center on Halloween night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.