Carson, Melanie and Owen.

Halloween in town will look different this year

The children of Orcas Island can rest easy: Halloween candy will once again fill their baskets this October.

After lengthy deliberation, the Orcas Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to proceed with trick-or-treating in Eastsound.

“We have been in touch with our county health department and reviewed Washington Department of Health guidelines for Halloween safety,” said Chamber Executive Director Lance Evans. “Trick-or-treating on North Beach will honor those precautions: an outside event, physical distancing, mask-wearing and no communal bowls of candy.”

The festivities will run from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31. Kids and their parents are asked to meander up and down North Beach Road (avoiding sidewalks) between A Street and Main Street. There would not be a line-up to begin — families would join in when and where they arrive. Volunteers will stop traffic from entering North Beach (at A and Main) at 2:30 pm. Cars that are parked on the street after that time could carefully exit.

For businesses taking part in handing out candy, the chamber asks them to set up a small table on the sidewalk along North Beach Road with an employee nearby to replenish the confectionary quota.

“Businesses will be encouraged to place a sign with their name on the table,” said Evans. “I would also provide disposable gloves for those who are placing the candy on the tables.”

All participants must wear a mask that meets the requirements of COVID-19 prevention. Chamber staff will be on hand to provide disposable masks. People are also asked to maintain six-foot distancing protocols.

“I received an increasing number of calls and comments as Halloween approached, most asking if trick-or-treating could happen this year. After conferring with health officials, my board of directors and local businesses, the North Beach plan seemed to make sense,” Evans said.

During the same time frame on Oct. 31, the Orcas Library will host its annual trick-or-treating for books event. Kids are invited to come in their costumes and choose a book to take home.

“Ghosts, goblins, ghouls and others are asked to wear masks and follow social distancing rules of six feet or more,” says library staff. “This program is made possible by a generous donation of the Friends of the Orcas Library.”

The community at Bonnie Brae will not be participating in Halloween this year and won’t have a donation area set up.

“We are all sad about this but know it’s the right thing to do at this time,” said organizer Laurie Michael. “We hope to make up for it next year.”

If any organizations or businesses are planning a COVID-safe Halloween event, email editor@islandssounder.com to be included in the newspaper.