No tricks or treats

Published 5:47 pm Friday, October 16, 2020

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GATESVILLE – The Town of Gatesville was incorporated in 1830 and Halloween was first celebrated in America sometimes in the 1840’s. So, no one knows who was among the very first group of children to dress in scary outfits and go in search of treats on Halloween night in the county seat of Gates County.

What is known is that trick-or-treating in Gatesville will take a one-year hiatus effective Oct. 31, 2020.

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 7, the Gatesville Town Council opted for a one-year ban on the annual tradition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Oct. 9, Gates County has recorded 155 lab confirmed cases of the highly contagious virus since the outbreak began in March. That number has nearly doubled since the end of August at which time there were 79 confirmed cases in the county.

“After talking with several residents on Main Street and looking at spike in COVID numbers here in Gates County, the council, under an abundance of caution, voted to cancel trick or treating this year in our town,” said Gatesville Mayor Elton Winslow. “We hated to do this, but it’s the right thing to do in the face of this highly contagious virus.”

Winslow said that Gatesville, population 300, has become a Halloween destination spot for trick-or-treaters over the years.

“Our population will swell to about 2,000 on Halloween night; people come here by the vanload from all over our county, as well as from neighboring counties and even from up in Virginia,” Winslow said. “That amount of people would definitely compromise any social distancing efforts. And with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, I would safely guess the number of people coming to Gatesville to trick-or-treat this year would be much greater.

“Many of our Main Street residents are elderly and have stated to us they will not participate in trick-or-treating this year, even if the town council voted to allow it,” the Mayor added.

Winslow said he’s looking forward to Halloween – 2021.

“Hopefully we’ll have a vaccine for COVID by sometimes early next year and we can return to hosting trick-or-treating here in our town,” he concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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