On October 28, 2020

Halloween organizers pivot in pandemic 

By Katy Savage

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, some towns are nixing traditional trick-or-treating and creating new Halloween activities.

While popular traditions, like the 60-year-old Rutland Halloween parade, which draws crowds of 10,000, being canceled, businesses and organizers have partnered to create socially distanced events, including candy drive-thrus and costume parades.

Rutland Rec. Superintendent Kim Peters said not having the Halloween Parade has given organizers more time to focus on other events.

“In some aspects, we’re like why don’t we do this anyway in addition to the Halloween Parade?” said Peters.

In lieu of the parade, the Rutland Recreation Dept. has planned a week of Halloween activities, including a fun run and scavenger hunt.

On Halloween day, 15 vendors in the community will be giving out candy in a Halloween stroll.  Participants who pre-registered can come dressed in costume to the Rutland Recreation Center parking lot to receive pre-packaged treats.

Peters said the announcement of the event was so popular that three time slots for pre-registration, which were capped at 100 people each, filled within 45 minutes. Peters quickly created a drive-thru option of the same event for more people to participate.

Meanwhile, Killington Recreation Director Sarah Newell teamed up with Sherburne Memorial Library Director Jane Ramos to plan a Halloween parade at the library. They’re anticipating about 100 people.

“We threw a bunch of ideas out,” said Newell as she was trying to come up with a Halloween event for those who don’t want to trick-or-treat.

Newell said the pandemic has forced more people to collaborate, making events stronger than before.

“I think that kids are amazingly creative and kids are so imaginative that they are going to have a great time,” Newell said.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, MD said Tuesday, Oct. 27, that he’s “fully in favor of trick-or-treating,” but advised: “Six foot space, masks on faces, avoid crowded spaces.”

The Centers for Disease Control released Halloween guidelines, too, echoing the reminder to wear cloth masks that fully cover the mouth and nose. The CDC also suggested people leave candy outside for trick or treaters to grab-n-go. Each town has its own policies for Halloween this year.

Woodstock area

There will be no trick-or-treating in the Woodstock Village this year but there are some Halloween events in the area. ArtisTree in South Pomfret is holding a costume parade and pumpkin carving contest starting at 11 a.m.

VINS in Quechee is holding a bird-themed event from 11-11:45 a.m and from 3:30-4:15 p.m. Attendees will come dressed in costume to learn about birds’ natural costumes before participating in a Halloween parade.


There will be traditional trick-or-treating in addition to a new event: The town of Killington has partnered with the Sherburne Memorial Library, Mad Hatter’s Scoops, Summit Lodge and The Foundry at Summit Pond to host Halloween Fun Fest 2020. There will be an outdoor Halloween parade at the Sherburne Memorial Library starting at 5 p.m. on Oct. 31, with costume prizes awarded by age group.

The library will also be decorated for attendees to view singing pumpkins, lanterns, ghosts, and an apothecary shop. You can also bring a decorated or carved pumpkin to enter the Halloween Pumpkin Contest. Either bring your pumpkin to the library earlier that week or bring it with you the evening of the event.

Rutland area

West Rutland Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette said trick-or-treating can happen but expects many won’t partake.

“We do expect more porch lights may be off this year as at-risk and cautious adults may not want to participate,” she said.

The West Rutland Free Library is giving out Halloween craft bags. Reserve yours by calling 438-2964.

A haunted trail, with strobe lights, fog machines, loud noises is being held at 37 Mead Street in West Rutland. One family can go through the trail at a time on Oct. 30 from 6-9 p.m. or Oct. 31 from 3-9 p.m.

Fabian’s Earth Moving is holding drive-thru trick-or-treating from 6-8 p.m. in Fabian’s yard. There is also a pumpkin carving contest. Carvers can drop off their finished pumpkins at Fabians, located at 1409 Pleasant Street in West Rutland between 10 a.m. and noon on Oct. 31, with names and phone numbers. Participants will be asked to guess the weight of a giant pumpkin donated by Mike Tiraboshi.

Rutland city is allowing traditional trick-or-treating, but encourages other events in the area.

Rochester area

Select Boards in Rochester, Hancock and Granville have canceled traditional trick-or-treating. Children can pick up candy at the Rochester Park, Hancock Green or Granville Town Hall from 2-5 p.m. on Oct. 31. A Jack-o-lantern display contest is also being held from 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 31 in each town. People can also participate in Halloween by decorating their homes along Route 100.


There will be traditional trick-or-treating. There is also a drive-thru truck or treat event for Bridgewater children on Oct. 31 from 3-5 p.m. at the Southgate House.


There will be traditional trick-or-treating. LaValley Building Supply is also holding a trunk or treat drive-thru in the parking lot at the Black River High School on Oct. 31 from 4-7 p.m.

Fair Haven

The town is holding traditional trick-or-treating, but encouraging those who participate to wear a mask and carry hand sanitizer. Town Manager Joe Gunter is asking candy givers to be creative, suggesting they use a pool noodle or other creative device to hand out candy without contact. The town is asking people to not leave bowls of treats outside for children to serve themselves.  “The more hands in the bowl, the more germs are spread,” said Gunter. “We want everyone to have a good time, but, more than anything, we want to keep our community safe and healthy.”

See our ADE section on page 20 for more Halloween events.

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