There will be no trick-or-treating along Harper Avenue from 57th to 59th Street this year.
Residents of Rosalie Villas, the spectacularly decked-out subdivision that ordinarily plays host to thousands of children, decided collectively not to hand out candy in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Charles Stevenson.
Stevenson, who lives on that stretch of Harper, said that there are also no replacement events planned.
The news came after Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced last week that trick-or-treating would be allowed for Halloween this year, with rules in place to encourage small group sizes and social distancing.
In addition, the city will be sponsoring Halloween-related activities in the week leading up to Oct. 31, including surprise pop-ups and a 10,000 candy bag giveaway sponsored by Blommer Chocolate Company. (“Golden tickets” will be put in a few bags — winners will get a 10 pound chocolate bar as a prize.)
“We all know what this holiday means for our kids and adults — especially now, after so much has been taken away over this past year,” said Lightfoot. “It's important to me and to parents across Chicago that we give our kids something to look forward to. But in order for us to do that, we need to do it in the right way.”
To that end, Lightfoot and Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady unveiled a set of rules for any Halloween celebrations over the next month. Trick-or-treating will be allowed, but only in groups of six or fewer, and children and their parents must avoid congregating.
People who are passing out candy must do so while socially distancing, and either leave their lights on or put a sign up to indicate whether their house can be visited. Everyone has to wear a face covering.
Bennie Currie, a Hyde Park resident who heads up the CollaBOOration, which has arranged Halloween events in the past, said the group would still focus on alternatives to trick-or-treating.
"I think the general consensus among our block activation leaders is that we'd rather do some things that are separate from trick-or-treating," he said. "When you put out guidelines on how to do it that basically tells people it’s ok to do it — that means they probably will do it. A lot of us probably don’t think you should."
Currie said it would be nice to find a way to celebrate Halloween where children would still be able to dress up.
"We could do something where it's separate and steady and we keep it moving. Parents can bring their kids out, put together their own candy goodie bags," he said. "We have to be careful how this all works."
At the mayor's Thursday press conference, Arwady said there will also be restrictions in place for teenagers and adults, with no house parties or haunted houses allowed. She did, however, highlight one acceptable alternative: drive-through haunted alleys, like one starting up in Lincoln Park last week.
“We’re honestly more worried about COVID spread among adults gathering to celebrate Halloween indoors than we are about children outdoor trick-or-treating,” said Arwady. “So props to people who are thinking about celebrating Halloween but doing it as safely as possible.”
Wallace Goode, president of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, said he hoped to have an update on businesses and Halloween this week.
For more information about the city’s Halloween plans visit chicagohalloweek.org.
This story has been updated with new information.