Milford City Council approves trick-or-treat event

MILFORD — At its Monday night meeting, Milford City Council unanimously approved a trick-or-treating event for this year.

“This is probably the most important resolution that you will pass tonight,” City Manager Mark Whitfield said, eliciting a round of laughter from the council members. “We’re recommending it be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, between the hours of 5 o’clock and 8 o’clock.”

He said that although the governor’s office has given municipalities permission to hold such events, local governments statewide are still waiting on guidance regarding what COVID-19 safety precautions will be required.

“They thought they would have them by the end of (September). We’re running out of (time this) month, but hopefully, we should have them soon,” Mr. Whitfield said. “We will publicize those guidelines when we put out the information (about) trick-or-treat night.”

Mr. Whitfield said he expects a large turnout.

“Oh, yeah,” Mayor Archie Campbell said in agreement. “Everybody’s locked up. You’re going to have a lot of kids.”

But not everyone at the meeting was as excited about the event, including Vice Mayor Jason James, who expressed a more cautious optimism.

“I know everybody is ready to get out there,” he said, “but I also know that kids can be carriers and not know it, because they’re asymptomatic and go home to their parents and grandparents. Then, we’ll have a whole community full of COVID patients.”

That was a sentiment echoed by Milford resident Nina Pletcher, who asked who would be enforcing the guidelines.

In response, Mayor Campbell said, “I’m going to say, I hope it’s their parents.”

Ms. Pletcher expressed doubt.

“Good luck with that,” she said. “Are they expected to wear (medical) masks?”

In her view, there are only two possible outcomes of an event like this.

“You’re either going to have a boatload of kids out there walking around, and nobody’s going to have their lights on, because nobody wants to deal with this,” she said, “or there will be a boatload of people and boatloads of lights on, and you’re going to have a hell of a mess.”

City Clerk Terri Hudson defended the city’s choice to move forward.

“We have had a lot of phone calls, a lot of support for the children to be able to have this event,” she said.

“I think most people that do not want to participate will simply have their lights off,” Ms. Hudson said. “They certainly have the option to do that, and understandably so, particularly the elderly people in our community.”

She pointed out that the governor’s guidelines, which the city was waiting on, will be publicized and that an extra hour has been added to the event with the hope that revelers will be more spread out both in terms of space and timing.

Ms. Pletcher wanted to know if there had been “any consideration given to something like a trunk-or-treat where, if you wanted to be a part of this, you could go to a parking lot. … That way, you’d have a lot more ability to surveil the group, the size. You can manage the comings and goings.”

Ms. Hudson said events like that will be available to those who seek them out.

“It would not be sponsored by the city per se, but there are a number of churches and other entities that do that,” she said.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

Have a question, tip, or resources about the coronavirus pandemic? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll do what we can to provide answers.