ADAMS, Mass. — The town will bring a trick-or-treat to the kids of Adams this year, and town vehicles will drive through each precinct to distribute candy.
Police Chief Troy Bacon rolled out the town's modified Halloween plans at Wednesday's Selectmen's meeting and instead of encouraging door-to-door trick-or-treat, town vehicles driven by town employees will distribute candy throughout the town.
"I think tonight we just want to get a consensus of what our plans for Halloween are," Town Administrator Jay Green said. "Everything that we do in 2020 seems to be somehow affected by COVID-19, and we do our best to offer some positivity in the town especially for our young ones."
On Tuesday, the state announced that there would be no state mandates for trick or treating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the state directed residents to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's guidance in regards to trick or treating during the pandemic.
Berkshire communities are determining how they will deal with door-to-door distribution of candy. North Adams is holding trick-or-treat and issued a list of cautions. Pittsfield also set hours and cautions but did discourage residents from trick or treating altogether.
Town Administrator Jay Green said Bacon, the code enforcement officer, and the Board of Health over the past few weeks have met to discuss possible safe trick-or-treat options. Green referenced the CDC's guidance and noted door to door trick or treating is considered high risk.
After talking with other communities, Bacon said they developed a plan to utilize the Highway Department, the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the Forest Wardens who will drive through each precinct to hand out candy on Halloween.
"I can tell you that the town departments that I have asked to help are energetic, and they are excited about the event," Bacon said. "They want to help, and it brings some sense of normalcy and happiness to our community."
Bacon said vehicles will be equipped with public address systems playing Halloween music. He said they will make multiple trips through the neighborhoods.
"Keep your windows open a little so you can hear the vehicles, and I don't anticipate doing one swap," he said. "We will be able to hit every street maybe multiple times so bear with us if you don't see us right away. We will get there."
He said there will be two people in each vehicle so candy can be handed out on both sides fo the vehicle. He said volunteers will wear masks and gloves.
Green said this limits contact and is a far safer option than door-to-door trick-or-treat, especially with a large elderly population.
Bacon asked that the trick-or-treat hours be set from 5:30 to 7. He said he would like to wrap up before it gets too dark out.
The chief said there is a need for candy and donations are being accepted at the police station. He said candy must be factory sealed. He added that people can also donate money.
Bacon said he would rather have more candy than not enough.
Selectman Joseph Nowak said the town has always been supportive of its children. He said he has always received donations from local businesses.
Selectman Richard Blanchard asked if the town could outright ban door-to-door trick-or-treat and feared that kids may still attempt it.
Green said the town can only "strongly discourage" trick-or-treating. He said they can only ask residents to adhere to their recommendations but cannot control the decisions individuals will make.
"That is their choice but in terms of a townwide turn-your-lights-on and hit it, no not this year," he said. "This decision was made of the greater public good and safety."
Chairman of the Board of Health David Rhoads agreed and urged residents to also avoid Halloween parties or venture to other communities.
Rhoads did say the Board of Health will review the plan at the next meeting to give it their blessing, but he personally was supportive of it.
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Adams Altering Two Precincts to Reflect Changes in Population
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen last week voted to alter Precincts 2 and 3 to better match population. This won't change the number of town meeting members but it will change the voting precinct for one.
Town Clerk Haley Meczywor presented new Census data to the board Wednesday and said with a decrease of 299 residents over a 10-year period, the state has recommended that the town change the borders of the two precincts.
"In order to make our precincts as equal as possible, the state is recommended that we make a minor change from Precinct 3 to Precinct 2," she said.
The last Census was done in 2010. Then, the population count was 8,485. In 2020, the count was 8,166 — a 299 decrease.
After an executive session Wednesday, the board voted to award Jay Hayes of Wayland North the project that will convert the former middle school's classroom wing into one and two-bedroom apartments.
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