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Mayor: Trick-or-treat, Witchy Way canceled

Monceaux cites CDC advisory in decision; social media urges defiance

Mayor Tim Monceaux has announced that a pair of Halloween traditions will not be held in Crowley this year.
In a statement released late Tuesday afternoon, Monceaux said he is canceling trick-or-treating and the downtown Witchy Way event this year due to concerns of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the fall and winter holidays approach, I am looking ahead and starting to think about how we can celebrate without spreading the coronavirus,” Monceaux said in a statement released late Tuesday. “The harsh reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as case numbers continue to rise in some places.”
Monceaux noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released Halloween and trick-or-treating guidelines “and, unfortunately, many of our traditional activities are considered high risk.”
The CDC is advising that people refrain from engaging in most Halloween activities and specifically advised against traditional trick-or-treating or “trunk-or-treating” — the practice of lining up vehicles in an area such as a parking lot and handing out treats from the trunk.
“For the safety and well-being of our children and all our citizens, I have decided to heed the recommendation of the CDC and cancel trick-or-treating and Witchy Way in Crowley this year,” Monceaux said.
Within an hour of posting the statement on the city website, social media exploded with comments, the vast majority of which condemned the mayor for the decision.
Some comments went so far as to urge citizens to ignore the mayor’s warning and engage in trick-or-treat activities anyway.
Others questioned why a local nonprofit is planning a chili cookoff to be held on city property on Halloween day while trick-or-treating is being canceled.
“Can we enforce it, yes, but it’s like a private gathering, difficult to police,” said Chief Jimmy Broussard. “And since Halloween is taking place on a Saturday, a typical busy night for the department, enforcing the ban (on trick-or-treating) will be difficult.
“Officers will not actively seek out trick-or-treaters unless they are called out for blocking the road or disturbing the peace-type of situations.”
Broussard explained that, since the city is under an Emergency Declaration, the mayor has the authority to cancel trick-or-treating.
“I know it was tough decision for the mayor, but I can see his reasoning, especially being a recovering COVID-19 patient,” the chief continued.
He said he understands the risk of an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus passing the infection on to children trick-or-treating.
“I would love to take my grandson out to trick-or-treat, however, with a wife that just went through chemo, it’s just too much of a risk,” he added.
Monceaux’s announcement came just a day after it was announced that the Acadia Parish Police Jury would not cancel trick-or-treating in the rural areas of the parish.
Children also will be allowed to trick-or-treat in Rayne this year and, although the annual Fright Fest, sponsored by the city, has been canceled, Mayor Charles “Chuck” Robichaux said he is planning some type of drive-thru event with treats at city hall.
“We’ve been talking about this for a couple of days and I think we came up with a safe evening for the kids to have some type of normalcy on what is supposed to be a fun night for them,” Robichaux said.
The Town of Church Point also will be allowing trick-or-treating.
But Monceaux contends there are other ways to observe Halloween.
“There are alternatives to trick-or-treating that the CDC recommends as low-risk activities, such as carving and decorating pumpkins, decorating your home, having a virtual Halloween costume contest, having a Halloween movie night with your family, and a scavenger hunt within your home instead of going house to house.
“Please don’t let the coronavirus play a trick on you. The best treat for yourself and your family is to stay home and stay well on Halloween,” the mayor concluded, adding, “Please continue to pray for everyone affected by COVID-19.”
For additional information, contact Crowley City Hall at 783-0824.

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