Warsaw Town Council gave trick-or-treating the green light but would not bring the Christmas season horse and carriage rides to the table for a vote.
Council members Faron Hamblin and Ogle Forrest expressed opposition to the town depriving children of the opportunity to go trick-or-treating. Hamblin said for some children this may be the last year when they’re within the age range.
“It boils down to common sense. If the parents want their child to go trick-or-treating, that’s their decision. I don’t see where that would be our decision to say you cannot do this,” said Forrest.
Like parents, the residents would have the option to participate or not. And for those who do give out candy, Forrest said he thinks they will take the necessary precautions because they know that these are their neighbors’ children.
Paul Yackel questioned whether other towns were allowing trick-or-treating this Halloween. He said in normal years, Warsaw already attracts families from other areas, and if there’s no activities in other towns Warsaw could get flooded with kids. He also raised concerns about people approaching houses that don’t want to participate, noting that when people see lights on inside they’ll often come to the door even when the outside light is off.
However, in the end, Auriel Diggs was the only council member to vote in opposition. She raised the issue of liability and said the town should follow the CDC, which does not support trick-or-treating this year.
Although the motion was approved, that approval requires the town administration to publicize guidelines, including to only approach houses that have an exterior light on.
Horse and carriage rides a no go
Mayor Randy Phelps pushed for Warsaw to offer horse and carriage rides this year. He said he hated to see such a very nice tradition put aside in a year that people need tradition, and he pointed out how popular and overbooked the event was each year.
And that was part of the problem for Yackel, who was most vocal in opposing it. He said he’s been on the rides every year and “there’s no social distancing.” A carriage holds 12 people, and “there’s never been less than three families inside at one time,” he said.
Phelps called for personal accountability. He said just because the rides were offered didn’t mean that people had to go if they didn’t want to. He added that he was even open to limiting the capacity to six people, or less if carrying two groups exceeded that limit. And he was willing to require a mask.
“If Germ-X and a mask are good enough for public schools, it should be good enough for people to get on a carriage ride,” the mayor said.
But Yackel pushed back. You can’t compare it to going to school because schools check temperatures, only a portion of the kids are in classrooms at one time to keep them distanced and students are spaced out on buses. So, it’s not really the same thing. With schools it’s structured. With this thing, it’s not structured at all,” he said.
The mayor made several attempts to get a council member to make a motion but no one was willing to.