Halloween is typically a day of the year where people are not recognized in their costumes because they wear a mask.
In 2020, COVID-19 is causing many of the activities to potentially not be recognized as community leaders are making changes to make Halloween safe this coming Saturday and they are asked to wear a mask.
Clarksdale police chief Sandra Williams said the city’s trick-or-treating hours are from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
“Hopefully, we won’t have any children that are out hitting the streets trick-or-treating,” Williams said. “If parents do allow their children to hit the streets trick-or-treating that will be between 5 and 8 p.m.”
Williams talked about Halloween safety tips the CPD is providing that go over walking safely, trick-or-treating with an adult, keeping costumes creative and safe, double checking candy and costumes and driving safely.
Clarksdale Public Utilities is one government entity not participating in Halloween in 2020.
CPU board president James Hicks said, in the past, the building was decorated and sometimes employees stood around and sang a few songs.
“With the building being shut down, nobody is able to get in. We’ll shut just it down this year,” Hicks said. “We just don’t want to take a chance and we’ll pass this year. That’s probably good for employees and the public.”
Hicks said with the weather cooler, COVID-19 was more likely to spread.
Williams said the Coahoma County Youth Outreach program having its seventh annual “drive-through” Trunk-or-Treat at the Expo Center from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday will help keep kids from being on the streets trick-or-treating.
“It just happened to be end up that way to be honest,” Williams said. “It is a good thing.”
Williams did say, on a typical night, six police officers from the department are working. On Saturday night, she said 10 officers will be working and the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office will also be patrolling.
“We always work really good with the sheriff’s department thanks to Sheriff (Charles) Jones,” Williams said.
“We hope that all of the citizens and parents abide by the rules and the laws of the community.
“If not, we will educate them and get them home safely. That’s what it all about, safety.”
Get a Treat!
Looking ahead to CCYO’s trunk-or-treat Saturday, outreach and enrichment director Kendrick Travis said the public will be able to get in at the entrance across from Clarksdale High School’s football field.
“We normally have it inside and we don’t want a big congregation with everything,” Travis said. “We want to get kids the feel of Halloween and getting out, just stick their bags out and get their treats. We just want to make it safe.”
Travis believes the event will be a success, but recognized the turnout may not be the same as in past years.
“I really don’t think so because a lot of the organizations such as sororities say they can’t participate or have a lot of rules to follow,” Travis said.
“If we still have three cars out there, it’s still a success to me.”
Setup is between 4 and 5 p.m. Saturday and anyone is welcome to participate.
“They’re welcome to come and we’ll find them a spot,” Travis said.
St. Elizabeth Catholic Church already had its trunk-or-treat in the parking lot last Sunday. Not only did kids have an opportunity drive through and get candy from different stations, there was also a canned food drive for the Clarksdale Care Station. Members of the community were able to drop off cans as they came through.
“Obviously, with the Catholic church, we are following the guidelines of the dioceses of Jackson, which is our Catholic regional office,” said Derrick Faucheux, parish coordinator of religious education.
Faucheux said social distancing and wearing masks are part of the guidelines.
“We abide by that at our church on Sundays,” Faucheux said. “We wanted to do something that was safe. We also just wanted to for the community are high at risk for COVID-19. We just wanted to make sure they had a place to go to trick or treat for Halloween to feel safe.”
Faucheux said his wife, Mary, came up with the trunk-or-treat idea.
“We knew about trunk or treat,” Faucheux said. “We knew this was something a lot of churches like to do. We had never done it at St. Elizabeth before and so we just figured because it was something we could do outside it would be a safe event to do. We just came up with the idea to do it as a drive through.”
Faucheux said he wanted to do it a week before Halloween because he knew the weather was getting cold. He estimated 40 to 50 cars came through.
“I think it went great,” Faucheux said. “We didn’t have an exact count on the cars.”
St. Elizabeth Catholic School principal Sarah Cauthen said she noticed children throughout the community, including those that do not attend the school, came to the trunk-or-treat.
“We had a good turnout from our kids and I saw some families that are not our kids, too. It was good that it reached other families in the community,” Cauthen said. “That’s really the focus is to serve the community whether you attend the school or attend our church or not. We want to serve.”
Cauthen thanked everyone who supported the trunk-or-treat and brought canned goods.