Judging from past trick-or-treat extravaganzas in downtown Mount Airy during the Halloween season, participating merchants seem to enjoy doling out treats just as much as the costumed kids receiving candy.
The usual festive scene along the rows of stores and other venues along North Main Street won’t be repeated this year, another frightful development posed by the continuing horrors of the coronavirus plague on large gatherings.
That massive Halloween observance downtown is being replaced this year by an alternate activity: a drive-through trick-or-treat event in the parking lot at Mount Airy High School. Dubbed Halloween 2020 — Sweet and Safe, it is scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
However, the downtown community can still participate in the Halloween treat process under a plan announced this week which will involve the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce office.
“Anybody that wants to bring candy, or donate candy, can leave it at the chamber and I’ll see that it is taken out there and given away,” Downtown Business Association President Phil Marsh said of the event at the high school.
“We’re really sorry we can’t do something for trick-or-treat on Main Street this year,” Marsh added. “Every year it gets to be bigger and bigger.”
In addition to crowds clogging the streets, the 2019 gathering was highlighted by about 90 people taking part in a costume contest, recalls the president of a group that spearheads numerous promotional activities and events in the central business district.
Organizers had been looking forward this year to closing the street and setting up a stage for the festivities, only to be derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic that has proven every bit as potent as the strongest of witches’ brews.
While downtown merchants have suffered economically from the coronavirus effects that have limited the funds available for giveaways such as the treat-or-treat campaign, many still want to contribute this year, according to Marsh.
“About all the merchants, they were real great as far as working with the event and participating in it,” he said of past Halloweens.
“It’s amazing how much candy we gave out on Main Street.”
Marsh says it can be taken to the chamber office up until 2 p.m. on the Halloween Saturday, mentioning that the office is to be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day.
He recommends items such as miniature candy bars that are sold in large bags, Tootsie Rolls, suckers and similar treats that typically are given out during the downtown Halloween observance.
Marsh said Downtown Business Association officials are still holding out hope for another popular event this year, one also involving candy distribution, the annual Mount Airy Christmas Parade spearheaded by the group.
“It’s just been a bad time,” he said of a long list of downtown events that have fallen victim to COVID-19.