Upper Arlington schedules Beggars Night for Oct. 29

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek
City of Upper Arlington

Backed by regional support and recommendations for COVID-19-related health-and-safety measures, the city of Upper Arlington will hold Beggars Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29. 

According to Emma Speight, the city’s community-affairs director, activities will be held in conjunction with a number of other central Ohio communities that night, with guidance from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the Central Ohio Mayors and Managers Association and the Franklin County Township Association. 

Speight said city officials have worked extensively to analyze what programs and events are still possible “within the health-and-safety parameters made necessary by COVID-19.” 

“Since some community traditions are shared and celebrated across the region, throughout the year city leaders have been part of collective discussions and recommendations on the feasibility of hosting certain activities,” she said. “Beggars Night is one of the cross-community activities that is typically celebrated by communities on the same day and time, under the guidance of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. 

“MORPC teamed with members of the Central Ohio Mayors and Managers Association and the Franklin County Township Association to consider options and health considerations for this mostly outdoor activity,” Speight said. 

MORPC Executive Director William Murdock said the regional agencies consulted with health departments and members of local government organizations to determine if Beggars Night events should be held this year. 

Specifically, he said, they received input from the state of Ohio, Franklin County Public Health and Columbus Public Health. 

“For years, many local governments have supported a unified trick-or-treat date for central Ohio that is based on which day of the week Halloween falls,” Murdock said. “COVID-19 hasn’t changed this. 

“Like every other year, communities have cooperated to suggest a common trick-or-treat date and time, and parents should use their discretion and good judgment in deciding whether they allow their children to participate.” 

In addition to taking traditional measures related to pedestrian and personal safety on Beggars Night, city and regional officials this year ask those trick-or-treating and those distributing candy and other treats to take a number of precautions. Trick-or-treaters and chaperones are asked to:   

• Wear cloth face masks appropriate for COVID-19. 

• Only trick-or-treat with a small group of family members or close friends who you typically spend time with. 

• Maintain at least six feet of distance from other groups. 

• Bring hand sanitizer to use between houses. 

• Only take wrapped candy/treats that are handed to you. Don’t reach into large bowls or containers. 

• Don’t participate if you feel sick, have a fever or have symptoms of COVID-19. 

• More households may decide to not pass out candy this year, so don’t approach homes that don’t have lights and decorations. 

Those handing out items are asked to: 

• Designate one adult to hand out candy. 

• Wear cloth face masks appropriate for COVID-19. 

• Have hand sanitizer available for trick-or-treaters and frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces. 

• Only put out wrapped candy or treats and place them on a table instead of in a large bowl. 

• Don’t participate if you feel sick, have a fever or have symptoms of COVID-19. 

• Turn off exterior house lights if you are not participating. 

Speight said parents should know the routes their children plan to take and those who will be out should carry a flashlight or add something reflective to their clothing. 

She said trick-or-treaters should never enter strangers’ houses; they should stay on sidewalks while walking along roadways. Treats should not be eaten until they have been checked by a parent. 

“Our police division will have officers making their usual patrols through neighborhoods and assisting children if they become lost or scared,” Speight said. “After a review of the state and county health-and-safety recommendations relative to Beggars Night, it was determined that (officers) should not pass out candy this year. 

“This was a difficult decision to reach, since officers and volunteers of the Citizen Police Academy Alumni Group enjoy seeing the children’s creative costumes and adding some extra fun for them as they walk through their neighborhoods in search of candy.” 

Speight said additional Beggars Night safety resources are available at coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/celebrating-halloween.pdf and /covid-19.myfcph.org/schools-childcare/. 

nellis@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekNate