Each year on the night of Oct. 31, students, parents and kids of all ages have gathered their most unique costumes to walk down Main Street and kick off yet another Halloween. Until this year.
COVID-19 has taken yet another tradition from the village of New Paltz with the annual Halloween parade and gathering. Hosted in previous years by the New Paltz Lions, the parade was taken over in 2019 by the New Paltz Rotary Club.
“We have a specific committee who looks after all the arrangements for the halloween parade and the Christmas tree by the library,” said Rotary member Julie Bain. She explained that the committee presented their discussion findings at their August Zoom meeting, and it was subsequently posted to their Facebook page.
“We are living in unprecedented times and the safety of everyone in our community is our first priority, and even outdoor events are not immune to the effects of this pandemic,” Bain said.
New Paltz has a history of large celebrations for the fall holiday season, and this is one of the first casualties — though certainly not the last. Word is still out on the pumpkin carving contest hosted by The Bakery and trick-or-treating within the town.
While there was discussion of alternatives for children to get involved in some form, it was decided that “none of them were viable or would have kept the community spirit of the parade,” Bain said.
The response from the community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the decision to cancel the parade for the safety of all. Though it is a devastation for many who look forward to such an event each year, it could be seen as an opportunity to make new traditions at home with family.
The Village has yet to make a statement on whether kids will be allowed to go door-to-door to collect candy. “Rotary is not involved with any town or village decision about Halloween in general and we look forward to sharing this fun, much loved community event with everyone next year,” Bain added.