New guidance aims to protect trick-or-treaters


GHENT—The village boards of Kinderhook and Chatham have come out with statements about the safety of trick-or-treating this Halloween. Village of Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle said in a phone interview that she hopes village residents will follow Governor Cuomo’s safety guidelines posted on the state’s website this year due to the pandemic. Chatham, which has hosted hundreds of children and families on the holiday in the past, is discouraging people from going door-to-door. Kinderhook sent out a message about safe Halloween activities, listing guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In early October, the Village of Chatham posted a statement on its Facebook page saying, “Due to challenges associated with Covid-19, the Chatham Village Board is requesting that Halloween trick-or-treating be limited to visiting only family and close friends. This follows the guidance from the governor’s office. Kinderhook Street will not be closed this year due to those restrictions. The Village Board asks that everyone take advantage and support our local fire departments, who will be teaming up to provide a drive-through Halloween Trick or Treating experience on the Chatham Fair grounds from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. or when the candy runs out. Your cooperation and patience during these difficult times is appreciated.”

Informal counts report that 700 or more trick-or-treaters typically visit Kinderhook Street, and for the past several years the village Police Department has closed the street to car traffic. For more information on the fire company’s event, go to their Facebook page at

According to an email from the Village of Kinderhook, the village “does not have an ordinance in place that bans trick-or-treating. However, this village is encouraging people to follow the CDC guidelines and to use their discretion.” The CDC guidelines can be found at

On October 31, the Kinderhook Business and Professional Association (KBPA) and the Sleepy Hollow Riding Club are hosting the reading of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and a parade and trick-or-treating around the Village Square at 3 p.m. The village’s Recreation Commission is hosting a Halloween Drive-Thru at Rothermel Park from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

According to the CDC recommendations on their website, “traditional Halloween activities are fun, but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading Covid-19 or influenza. Plan alternate ways to participate in Halloween.”

The federal agency suggests that you can make trick-or-treating safer by avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters; giving out treats outdoors; setting up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take; washing hands before handling treats; and wearing a cloth mask. “A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask,” the website reads.

The Governor’s Office also has a list of activities people can do safely during the Halloween season at

The state is stressing that “the best way to celebrate Halloween this year is to have fun with the people who live in your household.” They suggest trick-or-treating only with your household family group.

The guidelines from the state for people giving out treats on Halloween says if they are “setting a grab and go station, set it six feet from your front door, which will allow trick-or-treaters to feel comfortable to approach, knowing they will not be in close contact with anyone at the location.”

‘A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.’

Federal CDC recommendation

Valatie Mayor Argyle says that residents can turn out their lights and not answer the door if they do not want trick-or-treaters. As it has done for the past few years, the Valatie Fire Department will have fire trucks in the housing developments in the village handing out candy on Halloween.

For other Halloween events around the county, check the Events calendar, page 10, in this issue of The Columbia Paper.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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