By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Come late October, there will be no parade of ghosts and goblins haunting Cooperstown and Oneonta.
The Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce won’t be seeking a parade permit, Chamber Executive Tara Burke told Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch. “But many businesses are going to continue giving out candy, as they have for the last decade,” the mayor said.
For a second year in a row, Oneonta won’t have a parade either, said Mayor Gary Herzig.
In Cooperstown, Burke did advise Tillapaugh “about half” of the Village’s 20 businesses replied to say they would still be offering wrapped candy during the annual trick-or-treat event on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Village Trustee Joe Membrino, however, discouraged the idea. “I am very strongly recommending against trick-or-treating,” he said. “The idea of sending people into stores for candy is frivolous.”
Tillapaugh said that they couldn’t tell businesses or homeowners “what to do,” but said instead that the Village would work with the Chamber to create guidelines for a safe event.
“We want to issue strong recommendations that everyone wear face coverings and only travel in family groups,” she said. “This way, we can provide those who want to participate a way to do it safely.”
Suggestions included putting a bowl of wrapped candy out on the front porch, or standing
near the sidewalk to give out candy – masked, of course – in order to minimize travel to houses and closed spaces, such as porches.
“The last few years, we’ve been blessed with wonderful Halloween nights,” said Trustee Cindy Falk. “People can stand outside with candy.”
In Oneonta, Herzig said, “It’s a shame. Last year we had to cancel it because of wind and rain.”
This year’s parade fell victim to COVID-19, but the city, along with Destination Oneonta and Common
Council member Mark Drnek, eighth ward, who recently spearheaded the successful eight-week downtown dining event, are working to put together guidelines for families who still wish to participate in trick-or-treating both downtown and in the neighborhoods.
“We’re working with the downtown business community and Dr. Diane Georgeson, the city public health officer, to see what is feasible,” said Herzig.