By GWEN OREL
While towns such as Glen Ridge have canceled Halloween in the interest of social distancing during the pandemic, the holiday is still on in Montclair. Some of the town’s traditions, such as the Police Department’s Trunk or Treat, have been called off, but Montclairians are creating new ones.
On Oct. 5, Gov. Phil Murphy declared that Halloween could take place at the discretion of each municipality.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that all trick-or-treaters should wear proper masks that cover the mouth and nose (not just a Halloween mask), stay close to home and stick with family groups.
Candy givers should leave candy in a place from which trick-or-treaters can take it themselves, and individually wrapped candy should be spaced so it can be grabbed without touching other candy bags.
Indoor gatherings are subject to a capacity limit of 25 people or 25 percent of the capacity of the room, whichever is smaller.
Montclair is not sponsoring any Halloween events.
Trunk or Treat, a trick-or-treating event in the parking lot of the Montclair Police Department, will not take place, said Lt. Tyrone Williams Jr.: “We don’t want too many people gathering.”
This would have been the fourth year MPD would have sponsored the event, which included games and prizes as well as candy.
The Montclair Center Business Improvement District sent out a survey last month asking businesses what they intended to do for trick-or-treating.
“We found that many business owners had trepidation about inviting kids into a closed space to touch a candy bowl,” said BID Director Jason Gleason. “Most said they were going to skip it this year.”
BID did make a poster, as they have in years past, that businesses could put in their windows if they chose to be a trick-or-treat spot. East Side Mags, Shoesector, Let’s Yo, Amanti Vino, Ani Ramen, Proven Poke, L and B Healthy Pet Market, Sweet Kitchen, Sicilia Mia, Eclectic Chic, Dolly Moo, Clerestory Fine Art, Dem Two Hands and Tostchu are among those that have decided to keep the tradition and hand out candy; they are displaying the BID poster.
The Montclair Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs is holding a Halloween Poster/Dream Catcher contest, open to Montclair children up to age 17. Posters and dreamcatchers will be displayed in the windows of the Montclair municipal building. Artwork should be brought to the Montclair Recreation Department, 205 Claremont Ave., by Oct. 29. Entrants are asked to call 973-509-4915 on arrival. Art will be judged in three age categories.
Van Vleck House & Gardens is holding “Take the Scarecrow Walk,” an outdoor family event, on Friday, Oct. 30, from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be a live show of creepy creatures. Reservations are required, as are face masks. To register and for information visit vanvleck.org.
TREATS AND TRICKS
Montclair Avenue, a street that is usually a trick-or-treating draw, will be quiet this year, according to resident Wendy Jones-Epstein. The residents decided that the safest thing to do is not invite trick-or-treaters and to send the message by turning the lights off.
“We want to get the word out,” Jones-Epstein said.
Callista Polito of Montclair Avenue said she will give out candy, however.
“If kids are all masked, I see no issue with tossing candy into their goodie bags from 6 feet away,” she said.
Barbarann Petrichor has rigged her house on Midland Avenue to have a contactless candy chute.
Some locals are having invitation-only trick-or-treating (the equivalent of a pod) and holding a “treat hunt” at Watchung Plaza.
Carole Di Nardo-Cross said she is setting up a children’s Halloween Book Giveaway with tables spread out across her front yard at 118 Cooper Ave., piled with books for all ages.
Di Nardo-Cross has a Little Free Library on her front lawn, and has noticed that children are often the ones who browse through the books.
“We thought people may not want to come to doors to trick-or-treat, and thought about what we could do that might be a little fun,” she said.
Michael Stahl will once again create photo portraits of trick-or-treaters, between 2 and 6 p.m., at The Commonwealth Club, 26 Northview Ave.
The fee for the portraits, which will be posted on Facebook, is a donation of nonperishable groceries or a winter coat. The food will be donated to Toni’s Kitchen and the Human Needs Food Pantry, while the coats will be delivered to the Salvation Army.
“Both donations are particularly needed this year,” Stahl said. Kids will take off masks for photos, while parents will stay masked. Stahl will shoot from 10 to 15 feet away, and volunteer members of the club will help maintain the flow of people in and out of the building.
A Halloween Skate Jam is being held across from Renaissance Middle School from 1 to 5 p.m., with a costume contest and open skates. Free skate lessons are available from 10 a.m. to noon by RSVPing to email@example.com. Social distancing and masks will apply.
NEVER TOO OLD
The second annual Weirdo Party Silent Disco, #Cosplay Edition, will be held at Crane Park at 7 p.m. That’s right, silent. Attendance is free, but to reserve headphones (to make sure you can hear DJ REBEXX, DJay_Butta, and DJ G Silva) the fee is $20. Face masks and social distancing are required. Visit tinyurl.com/y6stjbfs for more information.
Angelica Tanti is sponsoring a house-decorating contest. “With all the stuff going on with COVID, kids need something to see,” she said. “I wanted to bring some Halloween spirit to the town.”
She did not do it for her kids: she does not have any. She said she will dress up as “something related to spiders. A spider queen/vampire type situation. Something scary.”
To enter the contest, people should text a picture to 201-452-4825, and post to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #NightmareInMontclairContest. The deadline is Thursday, Oct. 29, at 11:59 p.m.; winners will be announced on Oct. 30 at 2 p.m.
Three winners will win Amazon gift cards.
Tanti said, “This year is special because there’s also a full moon.”