By Rick Palsgrove
Like everything else in 2020, Halloween trick-or-treat got put through the COVID-19 wringer.
But, trick-or-treat triumphed in its own spirited way over the hurdles of this strange year.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic put a crimp on the event with its requirements of social distancing and accompanying necessary safety hurdles. Then the rainy remnants of Hurricane Zeta spun through central Ohio on the scheduled trick-or-treat day of Oct. 29, dumping inches of rain and ushering in damp, chilly temperatures.
But local governments adjusted to the weather and switched trick-or-treat to the more pleasant day of Oct. 31 (which is Halloween and the day most people would like to see trick-or-treat held annually). The ghosts, goblins, and assorted other costumed creatures then hit the streets looking for treats.
Groveport residents embrace Halloween and trick-or-treat each year and one of the most happening streets in the city on Beggar’s Night is Front Street.
Many residents on Front Street get into the spirit of the night each year and put up elaborate and spooky Halloween decorations in their front yards. The scary sights – combined with the historic nature of the street from its fine old homes to the brick street to the old trees – makes for an attractive atmosphere for Halloween trick-or-treaters.
Some of the more spectacular Front Street fright sights this year included:
•The Thomson home, where a massive spider preyed upon Halloween revelers, eerie pumpkins shown from each window, and a skeleton wedding disturbed even the most stout hearted.
•The Ellinger home featured a towering T-Rex skeleton and other boney horrors.
•The Richards home included a gruesome graveyard as well as a masked mass murderer who throughout October could be seen performing various chores around the yard such as trimming hedges, painting the porch, baking, talking on his cell phone, and taking it easy with a beer while reading the Groveport Messenger newspaper.
•The Cuthbert home where a gathering billowing ghosts gathered around eerie lights while nearby the remnants of a radioactive disaster could be seen.
These scary venues gained added fright with the presence of the many costumed creatures who bravely went from house-to-house throughout town seeking treasured treats. Among those visibly haunting the streets were witches, ghosts, dinosaurs, and monsters of all kinds. But there were also superheroes, princesses, and assorted cute critters.
Though the feel of Halloween was a bit off in 2020, much like most things in this very odd year, it was nice to see people adapt in safe ways to enable the kids to enjoy the colorful spookiness and tasty candy of the holiday.
(Editor’s note: Many, including myself, often ponder why trick-or-treat is not held on Halloween every year. Government is the answer to that. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission – which is made up of more than 70 counties, cities, villages, townships, and regional organizations – works to coordinate communities of varied sizes and interests. As part of its mission, MORPC sets a recommended date for trick-or-treat each year. This year MORPC picked Oct. 29 as the unified trick-or-treat date for the region. According to MORPC’s website: “When Halloween, Oct. 31, falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, trick-or-treat is held the Thursday prior to Oct. 31. When Oct. 31 falls on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, trick-or-treat is held on Oct. 31.” Local communities make the final decision on the date.)