Risk mitigation planned for local Halloween events

Kent Weeklies
PTO Halloween Windows

Each year, beginning in late July/early August the Hudson PTO Halloween Events Committee Chairs begin to layout timelines for these annual events; COVID-19 has created a new layer to event conversations.

“We first and foremost wanted to have these events because a sense of normalcy is something we all crave," said Pumpkin Patch Chair, Halle Musone.

The committees have taken all points of view into consideration including the City of Hudson, the Hudson City School District and compliance with Summit County Health Department and CDC recommendations.

“We want to hold these events, but paramount importance is on safety of the kids participating, parents observing and patrons to the local businesses that allow use of their windows,” said Halloween Windows Chair, Sara Lerner.

The Windows event typically brings out 500 kids working in teams to paint windows on Main Street businesses, First & Main, Acme Plaza, Evaporator Works and event sponsor, JOANN.

"We're proud to support this annual event, which puts the imagination and creativity of Hudson students on display," said Chris DiTullio, Chief Customer Officer, JOANN. "At a time when community gatherings and school events are limited, we're thrilled to help young people celebrate Halloween using their creative talents. This perfectly aligns with our mission to inspire creativity in everyone, and we hope it will help lift the spirits of all in our community."

This year, the Windows event will look a little bit different. For the event to comply with Ohio state mandates and current school policy, the PTO is taking extra measures for crowd control and social distancing.

“The collaboration and community gathering of the event is part of what makes the Halloween Windows so fun,” said Lerner. “We know that this year’s plan is not exactly what everyone wants, but it is what we need to do in order to be able to put on the event safely and with peace of mind. This event has happened every Halloween for the past 54 years, and I will do everything I can to keep it going; that means taking state, county, and school guidelines seriously.”

To ensure the safety of all participants:

• Windows will be individual, and the event will take place over two days, Saturday, October 24th and Sunday October 25th.

• There will be one check in location at the Hudson Library and smaller check-ins at the schools

• All supplies will be disposable

• Only one parent will be permitted on-site to chaperone

• Painting will be scheduled for every other window each day to ensure a six-foot distance.

This year’s Trick-or-Treat festivities may also look very different with that in mind, additional windows have been procured at Evamere, Ellsworth Hill, and East Woods Intermediate.

These painted windows will be a much needed source of Halloween excitement for the elementary school students.

For Hudson City Schools students who are virtual and need a paper option, a limited number area available. These procurements have added more windows to the event than ever available in the 53-year history.

“We want to provide a space of celebration, even if Halloween is limited this year. It is really important for us to continue this tradition and provide even a bit of joy for families in Hudson,” said Lerner.

The fourth annual Kindergarten-4th Grade Pumpkin Patch will also go on as planned.

“The Pumpkin Patch already lends itself to social distancing; that said, we will have additional safeguards in place including sign-ups for time slots to drop off pumpkins to ensure there isn’t congestion on the Green at First & Main,” said Musone.

The pumpkins will be dropped off by families on Sunday, Oct. 25, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. To ensure a quick pick up of pumpkins on Oct. 23, the name plates will be available at sign up online as a PDF.

The pumpkins will be lit up for Halloween; families can walk or drive by to see the creativity the kids in Hudson City Schools have to offer.

Parents will be able to register for both, the Halloween Window Painting Event and the Pumpkin Patch by visiting www.hudsonpto.org between Thursday, Oct. 1, and Friday, Oct. 9. Both events are open to Hudson City School District students.

The Halloween Window Painting Event is for students in grades 5-12; registration will remain at $24 per window, with only one child permitted to register per window.

The first 150 registrants will be guaranteed a commemorative t-shirt and a window. The Pumpkin Patch registration will be $10 per 12- to 15-pound pumpkins and they will be lit up for Halloween. It is asked that the community keep in mind that children worked hard on carving their pumpkins and please be respectful.

As they have for several years, local window washers, Trotta’s Power Washing will professionally clean all windows.

Additional support comes from the City of Hudson for allowing utilization of the Green, Fairmount Properties in their generous cooperation, ACE Hardware Hudson for allowing use of their parking lot for pumpkin distribution, and AA Sanitation for helping keep our community clean during and after the events.