CHESTER, S.C. (WBTV) - Halloween will look very different in Chester this year.
The town council decided to ban the time-honored tradition of trick or treating because of the coronavirus. Many people who live there tell us they’re not happy with the decision.
“We love Halloween. We love Halloween as much as Christmas around here.”
To say Richard Dalton is a fan of Halloween would be a ghoulish understatement.
He’s been blowing out the decorations for years, amassing an impressive display of skeletons, ghosts and lights. Lots and lots of lights.
“Probably about ten thousand. Duke Energy’s gonna love me.” joked Dalton.
Dalton says his show is all about the fun, not the fright. On an average year, he sees hundreds of trick or treaters coming down his driveway.
“I’ll give away ten bags of candy, maybe more,” Dalton said.
But this year, the crowds won’t be there.
That’s because the Chester Town Council decided to cancel trick or treating because of the dangers of COVID-19.
Chester Mayor Wanda Stringfellow says she knows there’s a lot of people disappointed by this decision, but the risk right now is simply too great.
She says if people press the issue on Halloween night, police may have to get involved.
“If there are habitual offenders then you know citations may have to be issued.” said Mayor Stringfellow.
Dalton wasn’t happy to hear the news.
“We hate it. I wish they could have told us that we could have done it safely,” Dalton said.
Sheikita Thompson is the mother of two little girls, and says she’s not thrilled with the decision either.
“We already got nothing to do in the town for the kids already. And then by taking trick or treating away from them it’s like taking candy from a little child,” Thompson said.
“We always have to keep public safety first and foremost and in the midst of a pandemic, that’s what lead our decision.” stressed Stringfellow.
Dalton tried to put a positive spin on the whole thing.
“If trick or treat’s cancelled, there’s always next year!,” Dalton said.