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Residents using creative ways to deliver sweets to trick-or-treaters

Photo provided Kaylen DeLeon, 9, of McMechen, left, holds a bag up to the end of a treat dispensing pipe to catch some candy. Also pictured is Tonya Tribett, who designed the contraption as a fun and safe way to pass out candy this year for trick or treat.

HALLOWEEN FESTIVITIES will go on this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and some area residents have come up with creative ways to safely deliver sweets to trick-or-treaters.

With most cities and villages throughout the Ohio Valley moving forward with trick-or-treating Saturday, many people have come up with safer alternatives to passing out candy in the traditional way to the costumed youths. While some have opted to simply leave a basket filled with treats next to a sign directing children to help themselves, others are creating contraptions to aid them in a safe candy exchange.

Tonya Tribett of McMechen said she is utilizing a treat chute made out of PVC piping that will allow her to drop treats down to trick-or-treaters from atop her porch.

“It’s about 10 feet long. I have it placed along my railing going down my steps so I can just stand on my porch and put the candy through it and they (trick-or-treaters) can put their bucket underneath at the end so it goes right in,” she said.

Tribett said she has actually used the pipe in the past as a fun way to provide sweets to trick-or-treaters, but she decided to reuse the device this year to also promote social distancing practices.

“Kids just love it, they think it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “It also helps us keep our distance. I don’t have to go near the kids, and they don’t have to climb my steps. It’s convenient, and they love it.”

Some residents have said they are using grabber devices to ensure a safe distance when handing out candy, while others will don facial coverings and gloves and pass out individually wrapped treat bags.

Garen Rhome, administrator of the Harrison County Health Department, said most of the aforementioned efforts promote a safer experience for those passing out candy and for those collecting it. However, he does not recommend leaving a bucket out for all the kids to reach into and take a piece of candy.

“It’s not necessarily a good idea and not recommended,” he said.

Instead, he recommends bags of prepackaged treats spread out along a table so there is less risk of contamination.

Rhome said residents should make smart and safe choices when deciding whether to go trick-or-treating this year.

“If you have anyone in your house that has an increased risk of chronic illness then you should really consider the risks prior to going out,” he said.

The health department recommends that trick-or-treaters avoid direct contact with other trick-or-treaters and wear face coverings. Those handing out treats should give them out outdoors or set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take. They also should wear a face covering when interacting with others.

Rhome said to try to stick with your immediate family unit when going out.

“Don’t gather with extended family or the neighbors and go. Try to stick with your immediate family group or house unit,” he said.

Rhome urges people to bring hand sanitizer with them while out and said those who are of suitable age should wear a facial covering — not a costume mask, but a covering designed to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

“Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it often,” he said.

Rhome said children wait to eat the candy they collect. It should always be inspected by an adult prior to being consumed, but this year parents also should allow time to pass before children eat it in case germs are lingering on the wrappers.

“It’s especially important now to wait to eat the candy. You can let it set out for a little while, sanitize it and then consume it later,” he said.

He also recommends limiting the time spent out trick-or-treating.

“Instead of going for an hour and a half, just spend a half an hour walking around the neighborhood. Any amount of reduced interaction is going to help slow the spread and certainly reduce the risk of spread,” he said. “Get out, have some fun and get back home.”

Additionally, Rhome said he wants to encourage people not to judge those who have chosen not to participate in this year’s festivities.

“I want to encourage people to not judge the house who has their lights off, especially if you know it’s a house that normally participates in Halloween. That house is also making a choice for their family. Whoever is inside that house, the people inside have chosen to not take the risk this year,” he said.

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