Hilliard's 'intent is to go forward' with Beggars Night on Oct. 29

KEVIN CORVO
kcorvo@thisweeknews.com
Duncan Podolski, 1, of Hilliard, wearing an Oscar the Grouch costume and prop, attended the Old Hilliard Halloween Haunt with his father, James, on Oct. 19, 2019. Hilliard leaders say they intend to have Beggars Night this year during the COVID-19 coronavirus, scheduling it for 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29.

So many things in 2020 don’t look the same because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, but Beggars Night in Hilliard could.

Hilliard has scheduled Beggars’ Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29 per an administrative decision by City Manager Michelle Crandall.

Crandall said the city had received inquiries about the status of Beggars Night, including while using a new online community-engagement platform for feedback.

"We know how important it is to reach out and listen to our community, and we were already getting questions from residents about Beggars Night," she said. "With the launch of Talk2Us Hilliard, we felt this was the perfect question to pose to our residents."

Crandall said she believes the decision not to cancel had support.

"Given the outdoor nature of trick-or-treating and the numerous great suggestions we received on Talk2Us Hilliard from our community for how Beggars Night could be handled in a safe manner, we feel confident this great tradition can be continued while respecting social-distancing guidelines," she said.

It is happening, basically, by popular demand, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

In the first use of Talk2Us Hilliard, the city solicited opinions on whether Hilliard should move forward with Beggars Night, he said.

“Almost 90% of respondents replied they think Beggars Night can safely happen with some basic precautions,” Ball said.

From Aug. 28 to Thursday, Sept. 3, 149 people responded, he said.

“It is the first survey we opened and used (in part) to make a decision,” Ball said.

Suggestions from the public included prohibiting children from taking candy from a bowl and for adults to wear masks and gloves and remain outdoors.

The city plans to issue guidelines in the near future, Ball said.

Unless health-department officials issue an unexpected ruling or recommendation, “our intent is to go forward” with Beggars Night, Ball said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo