Halloween Walk is off in Ridgefield, but ghouls will wander
Costumed creatures will still walk night on Halloween. But the cute kids won’t be showing off their outfits downtown that Saturday. Ridgefield’s annual Halloween Walk has been called off, another public event lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
The cancellation of the Halloween Walk was announced on Tuesday by Selectwoman Barbara Manners, who heads the Holiday Trust Fund — which sponsors the Halloween Walk, and is also a major source of funding the downtown holiday lights.
Manners also said town officials had concluded that — unless the state gets involved — they wouldn’t try to restrict trick-or-treating on Halloween night, or put the clamps on other activities in the ghosts and ghouls tradition.
But the Saturday Halloween Walk, which draws huge crowds downtown year after year, won’t be happening in 2020.
“Over the past weeks I have spoken to people in other towns across the country who organize festivals, fairs, parades and other events,” Manners said. “My goal was to try to find a way to safely operate, in 2020, Ridgefield’s much loved Halloween Walk. Sadly and very regretfully, after speaking about it with those people and with the chief of police in our own town and with our first selectman, I’ve reached an unfortunate conclusion.
“I can find no feasible way for The Holiday Trust Fund to sponsor the event that would prevent it from becoming another ‘superspreader’ event,” Manners said. “There are just too many people, young and old, who flock to Main Street between its scheduled hours of 10 and 12 on the Saturday before or of Halloween, to ensure any form of social distancing.
“With so many entrances to town there is no viable way to close off the town and restrict its streets to ‘residents only’ — assuming it were even lawful to do that.
“Similarly there is no enforceable way of limiting the event to children of only a certain age, or to stagger the hours for different age groups,” she said. “Unhappily there will be no official Halloween Walk in 2020.”
Manners and The Holiday Trust Fund began sponsoring The Halloween Walk in 1999 after its original sponsor, the Chamber of Commerce, said it could no longer afford to put on the event.
“But Halloween is still happening,” Manners said. “And, at present, unless there is a state order to do so, we are not restricting ‘trick-or-treating’ on Saturday, Oct. 31.
“We urge everyone to follow the directions for responsible social distancing and to wear masks, even outdoors on the 31st, so as to minimize risk.
“Parents of young children should not let them go out unaccompanied,” she added. “And those homes and businesses who wish to participate in this cherished tradition should also follow both CDC and State guidelines on how to safely protect themselves and their venues from infection when trick-or-treaters visit them.
“I doubt there’s anyone who doesn’t want to see the children have a wonderful Halloween,” Manners said. “And I know there is no one who also doesn’t want to keep the community safe during the holiday.
“So let’s all follow the guidelines and hope that next year in 2021, 2020’s precautions will be unnecessary.”