What’s Happening With Halloween This Yr?

What’s Going on With Halloween This Year?

Q: My kids have been asking me for weeks: will there be trick or treating this Halloween? Our Upper West Side cooperative has been silent so far, but what's the name of the street? Are buildings planning to allow children to take the elevator from floor to floor to retrieve their loot? Personally, I have mixed feelings about all of this. I want my kids to enjoy something normal, but I am also concerned about the possibility of an escape in the building. How do buildings approach this sensitive issue?

A: I hate to bring bad news, but this Halloween is turning into a dud for apartment dwellers.

"I would be surprised if buildings allow young trick-or-treaters to walk around in masks because they cannot be vaccinated yet," says Steven D. Sladkus, real estate attorney and partner at the Schwartz Sladkus law firm in Manhattan Reichs-Greenberg-Atlas . "We are not outside the Covid zone."

Last fall, during the second wave of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against trick-or-treat, calling it a high-risk activity to avoid. In turn, New York apartment buildings broke the annual tradition of children using their apartment elevators in search of candy.

But this year feels different. Schools have reopened, many office workers have returned to their desks, and restaurants are overcrowded. Last Sunday on CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Americans: "Go out there and enjoy Halloween."

The operational words: "Get out." Halloween may be back in neighborhoods where kids can roam the streets, but the conditions are not the same in apartment buildings. Although 76 percent of adults in New York are fully vaccinated, children under the age of 11 are not. With the rise of the Delta variant, buildings that relaxed their masking rules in early summer have reintroduced some social distancing guidelines.

"No building wants to be the building that Halloween allowed, and there was an outbreak because kids were walking around with Covid," Sladkus said.

What are you doing instead? They're all over the map, according to Dan Wurtzel, president of FirstService Residential New York real estate management company. At one end of the spectrum are the buildings that postpone vacation until next year. On the other hand, there are buildings with a lot of outdoor space, such as an inner courtyard or a shared roof terrace, where events such as creepy movie nights or costume parties can take place. Some buildings try to thread the needle, hand out goodies in the lobby, or allow limited trick or treating as long as the kids wear masks and just knock on the doors of neighbors who have chosen to attend the event.

Mr. Wurtzel doubts that many residents will take part in the trick or treating choice. “I don't know how well this will go down with the resident population,” he said. "When you sign up, you will have lots of young children coming to your doorstep unvaccinated, and is that what you want?"

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