'Life, liberty and the pursuit of Halloween candy'

Oak Park establishes trick-or-treating hours

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

COVID-19 hasn't scared off the Oak Park village board from allowing villagers to celebrate Halloween this year. During an Oct. 6 meeting, the village board gave trick-or-treaters the go ahead to collect candy this year by passing a resolution to permit people to participate in trick-or-treating activities from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

According to Public Health Director Mike Charley, Oak Park has seen "rather stable community transmission" of COVID-19, making Halloween trick-or-treating possible. 

"As long as we continue to see sort of that leveling off of the virus and not an increase, yes, we're going to still recommend Halloween continue," said Charley.

Should the COVID-19 situation take a turn for the worse in the next weeks, Charley does have the power to prohibit trick-or-treating.

"If we see a spike for whatever reason," said Charley, "then of course, I would use my public health authority along with the board's authority to rescind Halloween if necessary."

Not all households should feel obligated to participate in trick-or-treating festivities. For those who do not wish to join in, the village of Oak Park will provide the households with red signs that will alert trick-or-treaters to move on. Households that want trick-or-treaters will have green signs displayed.

 Trustee Susan Buchanan was concerned that stopping at 5:30 p.m., instead of 7 p.m. like other communities, mean that trick-or-treaters outside of the village would be unaware of the stop time and be greeted with closed doors. 

"We have to be prepared to communicate that somehow," said Charley. 

Starting Monday on the week of Halloween, the village of Oak Park will erect signage to alert not only Oak Parkers of the celebration timeframe, but those from neighboring communities as well. East Oak Park homeowners traditionally welcome large crowds of children from the West Side for Halloween.

The designated daytime hours will increase visibility of masks and signs, as well as the ability to social distance, according to Charley.

"I just think it's easier in daylight hours to do that," said Charley. 

Trustee Deno Andrews was not in favor of setting a different timeframe for trick-or-treating this year, stating his belief that children will trick-or-treat whenever they want regardless of village-designated hours.

"Kids are going to trick-or-treat pretty much whenever they want and they're not going to stop at 5," said Andrews. "I think it would cause more confusion to change the hours, especially the ending hours."

Andrews felt establishing trick-or-treating hours overly bureaucratic. 

Trustee Jim Taglia found the proposed hours favorable and did not believe the board should spend too much time discussing a trick-or-treating timeframe.

"There's a lot of angst in the community generally when you talk about trick-or-treating for some reason," said Taglia. "It's like, life, liberty and the pursuit of Halloween candy and it gets to be a bit much." 

Noting that Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, Trustee Dan Moroney also supported allowing trick-or-treating activities between 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"I think hours are reasonable, especially in COVID-19 times," said Moroney. "I'm fine going along with what the proposed hours are."

Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb said he did not want to imitate President Donald Trump who "gets in the way of experts" and that village staff and Village Manager Cara Pavlicek had done a "tremendous job" in handling COVID-19 locally.

"I could not think of a better general to fight this war for us than General Pavlicek," said Abu-Taleb. "I yield to you when it comes to those expert decisions."

The resolution to establish trick-or-treating hours as 1:00.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Halloween passed 6 to 1, with Andrews casting the singular dissenting vote.

In his closing comments before the meeting adjourned, Taglia cracked a joke about Andrews' stance saying, "If anyone wants to trick-or-treat past 5 p.m., I suggest they go to Trustee Andrews' house because he'll be up late that night."

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Reader Comments

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Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 14th, 2020 12:51 PM

Brian Slowiak Most likely you will not be getting a phone call back. Before the Covid, there was a disconnect of communications so it has more to not being organized then being busy with the Covid. That may be do to a lack of staff although I will say for one place I am calling they have plenty of staff to answer the phones although the system to transferring messages is a problem and their website is transferring information and a certain area is not working properly and no one knows how to fix it and they do not have an IT person and I called the company that sold the software and have not received a phone call. The best way now it seems is for people just to not call back

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: October 14th, 2020 10:36 AM

Yeahhhh... there's a really good chance that the Oak Park Health Dept. has better things to do, and its hands quite full, with contact tracing for Covid. I know this because around 10 days ago, I got a call from them asking if I had been in attendance at a block party on Sept. 22. For some reason they seem to believe that's more important than making sure everyone knows the hours they can get free candy.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: October 14th, 2020 10:25 AM

I telephoned the health department on the Monday after this issue of a time change was mentioned, left name and phone number, and asked them if they were going to notify any of the surrounding neighborhoods of the restricted time changes. As of this writing I have not had a return phone call.

Liz Picone from Oak Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2020 10:45 PM

Just one question about the time frame? The Journal article last week states 1:30-5:00pm and the info above states 1:00-5:30pm...can you verify the correct hours? Thank you

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 9th, 2020 2:47 PM

I think leaving the time the same is fine although I do think the CDC guidelines should be followed and Trick or Treating is in a high risk category As for Covid, no official department can get on the same agreement. If you have to take you vehicle in for and Emissions test, the workers will have you exit the car and a worker will get into your car This is very different then how it use to be and with the Covid going around, I do not think it is a good idea that a worker gets into a person's vehicle without wearing disposal gloves So let the children Trick or Treat and toss away the idea that the Covid is much of a problem if you follow from the leader of the country down to the Illinois Air Team on setting the examples

Ada Johnson Tikkanen  

Posted: October 9th, 2020 2:18 PM

The timing thing is a very good point. Many of our trick-or-treaters are from outside of OP. I want to make sure I have enough candy for these kids. They aren't going to know the time has changed. And after 4 hours of handing out candy during the day, I doubt many will have the candy or the energy to keep going till 7 or 8. Can we just leave the time the same?

Lori Malinski  

Posted: October 9th, 2020 11:36 AM

I live at a very busy intersection and we get many trick or treaters from other communities. How are they supposed to know the hours have changed?

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 7th, 2020 11:44 PM

Bruce Kline,, with all due respect to the Mayor of Oak Park, I went to the link you posted and the comment, "Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb said he did not want to imitate President Donald Trump who "gets in the way of experts" is getting in the way of the CDC "Experts" if I am comprehending the story correctly and the CDC link. I noticed the Higher risk is trick or treating. This creates more confusion on what or who to follow. For those who can muster up the strength copy and review here is the link Bruce Kline posted that maybe we should consider https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween I also do not understand why a Village Manager is now called a General "I could not think of a better general to fight this war for us than General Pavlicek," said Abu-Taleb. This is in a story about trick or treating. I knew the name General Westmoreland, and he was a General with his own ideas. My concern after being in the Military was never having the Military needed to do what they do so well do it in the United State's, President Trump mentioned about bringing in the Military so it kind of connects a meaning to me. I prefer we leave the Military titles to the Men and Women who serve in the Military. Thank you Bruce Kline for the post. I do appreciate it although it does give some rethinking to what really is the right way to respect the dangers of the virus and keep people safe. This may require some of that fancy pragmatic thinking

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 7th, 2020 11:36 PM

That's not the implied question at all Tom. Potential super spreader events - and yes even an outdoor event can be a super spreader event ...there are no guarantees ... are everyone's business, including those who don't want to participate. The question is - which you nor the Board has answered - why is the Village promoting an activity specifically red flagged by the experts at CDC? Mr. Trump has been rightly criticized for violating CDC guidelines on several instances. So tell me, why is the Village Board immune from criticism for ignoring CDC recs. with regard to Halloween?

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2020 11:08 PM

Eat at any restaurant in town and the server comes to you wearing a mask. So a homeowner wears a mask and holds a bowl of candy out, which is the same thing. Or they can leave a bowl out for a kid to pick from, and restock it periodically. Its an outdoor activity. It is voluntary, don't do it if you can't bear the risk. Trustees and so on are feeling a bit way too self important pontificating over this and should back off. Give the kids their candy.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 7th, 2020 8:35 PM

Well if Mayor Anan Abu - Taleb did not want to imitate Donald Trump who "gets in the way of experts" ... then who is he imitating as he ignores the latest CDC expert recommendations in regard to Halloween: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: October 7th, 2020 7:32 PM

How does VOP plan to distribute the red/green signs? Should residents call the Health Dept or go directly to Village Hall? Posting hours on signage will be useful for those who wear a watch but it may be necessary for squad cars to roam neighborhoods to inform and enforce. I'm pleased that children will be able to enjoy a special and fun day but wonder how this will work.

Ada Johnson Tikkanen  

Posted: October 7th, 2020 2:02 PM

I don't care what time we do it - but I have a few hundred candy bars - just waiting to be given out to our youngest villagers - and we need to think about blocking off streets for social distancing.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 7th, 2020 1:13 PM

Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb said he did not want to imitate President Donald Trump who "gets in the way of experts" and that village staff and Village Manager Cara Pavlicek had done a "tremendous job" in handling COVID-19 locally. That seems like the Mayor just did what Trump would do and give the wrong title to the person not qualified. General Mike Charley is much more qualified then a Village Manager and keeps in contact with headquarters on how the battle is going and is the one who has the ultimate authority to send out orders to draw back the attack of Trick or Treaters if the casualties show the candy is not worth the battle or treaters. Trustee Andrews makes a good point about the hours and instead of considering or thanking him for his opinion, it is suggested that trick or treaters show up to his home. In battles you like to learn what went wrong. The Mayor had a group show up at his home and it did not go well. Why would any lower ranking Officer suggest Trick or Treaters drive their forces to Trustee Andrews camp just because the lower ranking Officer disagrees does not make sense The changing of the Military structure is coming soon and maybe we can get a better Military running this War. Next up, the Historic Society has done a wonderful job and now just go away. We are going to let the high rise proceed and increase density. The grounds are to good to pass up Wasted time spent on Trick or Treating or maybe just a diversionary tactic

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