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Shelter Island Halloween parade canceled due to pandemic

It may not be the typical Shelter Island Halloween celebration, but there will be treats.

Many are reaching out to children to welcome them to stop by for a safe experience on Halloween.

The Town Board had to call off the annual parade that typically started at the Center Firehouse and included distribution of refreshments there.

As of last week’s Town Board work session, while being cautious about town-sponsored events to celebrate Halloween, members said Recreation Director Bethany Ortmann and, perhaps, members of the school’s PTSA could help to rally volunteers to keep other planned trick-or-treating efforts safe for children and parents.

Even with open doors at the firehouse, there was concern about children and adults congregating together in one place at a time when people are alert to a resurgence in other communities of cases of COVID-19.

But Library Director Terry Lucas and her staff have devised what they expect to be a safe way for many trick-or-treaters to celebrate the holiday through what’s billed as “Driveway Halloween.”

The library, Shelter Island Historical Society and Camp Quinipet along with some 14 people in houses around the Island will be putting out treats and simply asking that children and their parents wear masks and observe social distancing when visiting various sites. That means not clustering together on anyone’s property, but waiting until others have left to move toward the door or porch to claim their own bounty.

They are asking homeowners not to be outside, but to put the candy out for children to take.

And about those masks — typical Halloween masks won’t provide the necessary safety so people are advised to wear the masks they have been using when visiting the IGA and other businesses.

Sites for the library’s event are scattered around town from Ram Island and Hay Beach to the library and Smith Street where neighbors have traditionally welcomed trick-or-treaters, Ms. Lucas said.

On Facebook, Shelter Island Neighborhood is asking people to sign up if they are willing to have children come to their houses for treats.

Again, the same protocol that applies to the library’s event will apply — wear masks and don’t cluster together on anyone’s property to avoid the chance of becoming ill or making others ill.

Prior to Halloween, children who wish to make bags to haul their take can register at the library to pick up kits for their bags. Pickup occurs on Friday, Oct. 16, but you must call to register for a kit so the library staff can arrange safe pickup, Ms. Lucas said.

“People have been really good,” Ms. Lucas said. “It’s been very heartening to see that,” she said.