SOUDERTON — The borough has never taken action on Halloween and the pandemic won't change that.
“Some municipalities would designate a certain night or something like that. We have not taken that practice on,” Borough Manager Mike Coll said at Souderton Borough Council's Sept. 21 work session meeting.
This year will be the same, with the question of whether Trick or Treating takes place left up to the kids, the parents and the residents who choose to either turn their porch light on or leave it off.
“Souderton Borough does not control Halloween,” council President Brian Goshow said.
“I would leave Halloween up to all the Halloweeners,” council Vice President Julie Munden said.
That decision came along with discussion of whether or not this year's Souderton tree lighting, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4, and the annual Souderton Holiday Parade, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, should be held.
Souderton-Telford Main Streets, which organizes the parade and tree lighting, would normally be preparing for those events this time of year, Borough Manager Mike Coll said. When he talked to Main Streets Manager Christina DiVergigelis earlier in the day, though, he was told Main Streets wanted to first check with the council before moving forward with any plans.
“The question is does borough council feel that that's an appropriate thing to do this year given the Covid situation?” Coll said.
The tree lighting plans would include social distancing procedures and be downsized, he said.
“It would just be a tree lighting ceremony in the true sense of the word, and maybe an opportunity for a Santa Claus visit or something like that,” Coll said. “It would be a very low-key event.”
There are mixed feelings on whether the parade should be held because of crowds and in light of parades elsewhere being canceled, he said.
“I think they're getting mixed reaction, even from the participants,” Coll said.
DiVergigelis told him she's been contacted by some parade participants saying they plan to be in this year's parade, while others that have participated in the past said they won't be coming this year, Coll said.
“We want to know what Souderton Borough thinks. Are you totally against it or is it something that you'll let the committee look at and see what they can do?” said council member Ed Huber, who is Souderton's representative on the Main Streets board.
“They don't want to start working on it and then Souderton Borough says no, we're not gonna let you have it,” he said.
The borough's permission is needed for the parade road closings, he said. The parade takes place on Main Street and East Broad Street.
There are challenges for Main Streets to hold the parade this year, Goshow said.
“I certainly appreciate the fact that it's a difficult decision,” he said. “I kind of feel like it's their decision.”
Council member Dan Vogel said one of the things to be considered is crowd congestion, particularly at Main and Broad streets.
The most congestion would be in the parade staging area, Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Coll said.
Goshow said while there are generally congested spots along the parade route, there are also some other places that are open.
If the parade is held, it will likely have less participants and spectators than usual, Huber said.
While the decision on whether to hold the parade and/or the tree lighting is up to Main Streets, council said it is not opposed to the events being held with appropriate precautions.