As the leaves scatter across the ground and pumpkins appear on porches, Halloween can be felt in the cool autumn air across Lamoille County.
While trick-or-treating was canceled for many during the COVID-19 pandemic and the delta variant still pose a risk, particularly those under the age of 12 who cannot yet receive a vaccine, door-to-door candy appeals are making a comeback.
“Halloween is sort of custom made for when everything needs to be done outdoors in small groups with masks on,” Kevin White, chair of the Cambridge Recreation Board, pointed out.
Some events, particularly those indoors, have been postponed for a less dangerous year, but here are some of the festivities that have returned this year.
Jeffersonville village takes center stage in the town of Cambridge’s Halloween festivities each year as hundreds of trick-or-treaters are expected to descend once again upon its central neighborhood.
“There’s a central location feature to it, there is a walking-friendly neighborhood in Jeffersonville village, that, unfortunately, we don’t really have in Cambridge village with Route 15 running through the middle of it, which would not lend itself to a big crowd of kids going from house to house the same way,” White said.
Last year, some houses in Jeffersonville had to get creative in order to meet social distancing standards, White said, building elaborate PVC pipe delivery systems for candy. This year, the houses just need to worry about not running out.
For a dozen years, parents have been collecting candy donations for the 40 or so houses that bear the brunt of the giving responsibility each year. This year, candy drop off locations are being hosted at Cambridge Elementary School, Hanleys General Store, Union Bank in Jeffersonville and Kinney drugstore in Cambridge village.
A Halloween pumpkin glow and carving contest will also be held on Oct. 31. Kids and teens are invited to bring a carved pumpkin to the designated area between the Varnum Library and the Sweet House between 1-4 p.m. with a name and age on a piece of paper inside the pumpkin.
Likes on photos posted to the event’s Facebook page will determine the winner across three age categories, with the winner in each category receiving a $50 gift card.
The Varnum will also host another Cambridge tradition: A Halloween costume photo booth, in partnership with the Cambridge Arts Council, will open on Oct. 31.
On Oct. 30, a family 5K fun run and costume contest will be hosted at Cambridge Elementary School. The race starts at 10 a.m. Prizes for the best child and adult costumes will be awarded. The entry fee is only $10 for early entrants and registration forms can be found at the Cambridge Elementary School PTA Facebook page.
The Morristown Selectboard voted to close streets in the village to accommodate trick-or-treaters and some 700 pieces of candy that have been dropped into bags and buckets on non-pandemic Halloweens.
“We have people from all over the county that come, especially since we started shutting down the streets,” said town clerk Sara Haskins. “Pre-COVID, it’s pretty big.”
Cherry Avenue, Court Street, Harrison Avenue, Olive Street, Maple Street, Summer Street and part of Union Street in Morrisville will be closed from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Halloween.
Those looking to help village residents in the Halloween candy drive can drop off candy at the Union Bank in Morrisville, Kinney Drugs in Morrisville and the Morristown town clerk’s office.
Halloween and trick or treating will be happening in Stowe this year, according to town manager Charles Safford.
Stowe is closing Maple, Sunset and Pleasant streets from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Halloween for trick-or-treaters.
Candy for the candy drive benefiting residents of these streets can be dropped at Stowe Town Hall and Gale Recreation Center.
Stowe Elementary School will also hold its annual parade at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 29. The route has been changed to go down Pond Street and not Main Street and viewers are asked to socially distance themselves from participants.
Children will parade from the school down Park Place to Depot Street and then take the sidewalk on Pond Street to the library.
Stowe Parks & Recreation’s annual Halloween event at Stowe Elementary School has been postponed due to on-going COVID concerns in indoor spaces.
According to the preliminary results of a survey conducted by Amy Olsen, librarian at Lanpher Library, many of the residents in Hyde Park village plan to welcome trick-or-treaters this year.
“My feeling is that there will be plenty of people in the village that will be offering trick or treating, and there’ll be plenty of people who are planning to take their kids trick or treating in the village,” she said.
In pre-pandemic years, Olsen said they never saw less than 300 trick-or-treaters and their parents come to the village for sweets.
For villagers feeling daunted or wary of the price tag that comes with stocking up on candy for Halloween, the library has partnered with Hyde Park Partners in Education to collect candy donations at the Lanpher.
Hyde Park Elementary will host its ghost walk down Main Street again this year on Oct. 29. As it is indoors, the Second Congregational Church has canceled its haunted house.
The Johnson Public Library will give away books at a “Book Booo-th” at the Johnson Recreation Fun Run at Old Mill Park on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m.-noon, according to library director Jeanne Engel.
The Johnson Elementary PTO, which usually organizes candy donations for the residents of Johnson village, has declined to do so this year.