If there ever was a holiday perfect for mask wearing then Halloween is it. But concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic resulted in two longstanding Halloween events’ cancellation. Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library canceled its annual Halloween parade and Boothbay Baptist Church canceled its “Trunk or Treat.”
In an effort to preserve a semblance of the traditional October celebration, over three dozen merchants are offering a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. Coastal Maine Popcorn Co. co-owner Julie Roberts has organized a day long event for Oct. 31 which eliminates trick-or-treating in large crowds and accommodates social distancing. Participating merchants will wear surgical masks and gloves in greeting local trick-or-treaters.
Roberts’ 9-year-old daughter Olivia will trick or treat as a ghost who rides a hover board. Her mother felt bad for kids like Olivia who were likely to miss out on a classic kid holiday like Halloween, due to the coronavirus. “I thought these poor kids have been through so much and that something needed to be done to save Halloween for them,” Julie Roberts said. “So I spoke to a couple of merchants about sponsoring a safe environment for trick-or-treating, and they thought it was a great idea.”
The Maine Center for Disease Control has categorized participating in large group trick-or-treating where treats are hand-dispersed as a high-risk activity. So the local merchants created an alternative where trick-or-treaters could spread out and seek treats in a safer environment. Sweet Bay is one of 38 businesses participating in the merchant-sponsored celebration. Sweet Bay owners Ken and Cathy Rayle were among the first merchants to participate. “We thought it was a wonderful idea and told Julie (Roberts) we were glad to participate,” Cathy Rayle said.
Participating businesses include Enchantments, Mung Bean, Maine and Ivy, Tigger Leather, Janson’s Clothing, The Smiling Cow, Ed Brown’s Wharfside Gallery, Shirts by the Bay, Log Cabin Shoes, Boothbay Harbor Mart & Country Store, Harbor Realty, Eventide Specialties, Two Salty Dogs Pet Outfitters, Coastal Maine Popcorn Co., Brady’s Restaurant, Hawke Motors, Crow Point Yoga, Black River Gallery, Mine Oyster-Raw Bar & Gathering Place, sweet bay, Shear Artistry Family Hair Salon, Marcel’s Submarine Shop, House of Logan, Village Store & Children’s Shop, Slick’s, Gleason Fine Art, Discover Archive, Downeast Candies, Pier 1 Pizza, Pinkham’s Gourmet Market, A Silver Lining, Footbridge Brewery, Rachel’s Hair Studio, Boothbay Region Health Center, Grover’s Hardware, Sea Bags, Hometown Convenience, and Sherman’s Books and Stationery.