Mary Kroptavich and the City of Pittston never wanted to cancel their popular Trick or Treat Main Street event.
Faced with the need to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, they came up with an alternative with the help of the Pittston Area School Board, the Downtown Pittston Partnership and the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce.
“People are thrilled to still be able to have some sort of event for the kids,” Kroptavich said.
This year, the city has temporarily replaced Trick or Treat Main Street with the Haunt on the Hill Drive-Thru Trick or Treat. Families with children ages 3-12 can drive through the Pittston Area High School grounds on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Each child will receive a to-go bag with giveaways at the start of the event, and they can fill their bags with candy and prizes along the route. All guests must remain in their cars at all times for safety purposes. Cars will not be permitted on school property until 6 p.m. and the event will be limited to the first 3,000 participants.
Kroptavich said the treat bags have all been filled by donations from Pittston businesses, and some businesses will also have sponsored tents on the school grounds to pass out more Halloween treats and prizes.
To participate in the event, families can drive into the high school driveway and pick up treat bags for any children in their vehicle at the bus unloading zone. Beyond that area, sponsors such as Fidelity Bank, the Greater Pittston YMCA, the Greater Pittston Santa Squad and Greater Pittston Meals on Wheels will be waiting to pass out additional items.
“This is a great substitution,” Kroptavich said. “It’s fantastic that the school board wanted to participate.”
Other organizations throughout the Pittston Area are getting creative to host Halloween themed events safely.
Langcliffe Presbyterian Church in Avoca has planned a takeout luncheon with a Halloween twist on Sunday, Oct. 25. Pastor Margaret Ziegler said anyone can stop by from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. to pick up a bowl of chicken chili soup, bags of Halloween treats, Panera breads, desserts and any available pantry items or gift cards.
“The key word is free,” Ziegler said. “This is made possible with donations from the congregation and some local friends and organizations as a way to give to our community. Anyone may come — from singles to large families.”
Ziegler noted they will have special prizes for anyone who arrives in costume to pick up their food.
The Greater Pittston Santa Squad will also host a Trunk or Treat Car Show on Friday, Oct. 30, at 1874 N. Township Boulevard in Pittston. Anyone who wants to participate in the show starting at 6 p.m. must bring candy for any children attending.
The Greater Pittston YMCA will still hold its annual Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree and Pumpkin Splash with reservations required to enable social distancing. Participants can dress in costume and bring bathing suits to wade through the pumpkin splash in the pool. Admission costs $10 per family for YMCA members and $20 per family for non-members. To reserve a space, email Lizz Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Trunk or Treat fun can be found at the Wyoming Recreation Board’s event on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Flack Field in Wyoming. Children must wear masks to participate — organizers will provide disposable masks to anyone in need of one.
In Pittston, preparations are in full swing for the Haunt on the Hill, and Kroptavich said while she has yet to pick out a costume, she can’t wait for the event.
“This is a hard time for the kids .... there’s no (school) parades or events for them,” she said. “This is nice that the city is still able to provide the children some sort of Halloween.”