The 35th annual Halloween Parade around the Monument was by all accounts going to be quite a grand affair this year, but COVID-19 restrictions have made it impossible to stage the event, and organizers this week said they will cancel Charlestown’s famous Halloween celebration this year.
Instead, they are pursuing a Plan B that looks to celebrate in some fashion, but also help those in need at Harvest on Vine.
Organizer Diane Valle and Business Organizer Jane Gricci, of Cambridge Savings Bank, both said this week they are trying to keep the spirit of the season intact without the parade or the massive trick-or-treating fun.
“We are greatly disappointed the Covid-19 virus pandemic prohibits us from a traditional celebration however our team has been hard at work to develop a community-spirited, safe Halloween to remember,” read a statement from the organizers. “Our top priority has always been to host an inclusive, community-based Halloween Parade and Trick or Treating that is safe, fun and memorable for residents of all ages. However, after evaluating options, in consideration of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Phase 3, and in consultation with various physicians , nurses and health providers, the Monument Square Halloween 35th Annual Parade organizers and volunteers, concluded that they would be unable to offer the traditional parade around the Monument and cannot ensure the beloved door-to-door ‘trick or treat- safely this year.”
Instead, Gricci said, they will move to provide donations and help to those in need this year at Harvest on Vine.
“People spend a lot of money on candy every year and the kids love coming around to houses and businesses to celebrate with the community,” said Gricci. “This year they won’t be spending money on candy, so we’re offering the idea of re-routing that money to those that need it most at the Harvest on Vine food pantry.
That cornerstone of Plan B Halloween will be knowns as Halloween “Eat & Treat” 2020 Month to Support Harvest on Vine Food Pantry. Instead of buying candy, decorations, and music, organizers encourage redirecting generous contributions to “Charlestown Halloween” for support of the Harvest on Vine Food Pantry. That can be done by going to the following e-mail address. https://mygoodness.benevity.org/community/fundraiser/42637
To keep a little of the fun going around Town, Plan B will include decorating the Town with paper pumpkins that will be distributed electronically or available to all local businesses that want to use the jack o’ lanterns for display in their windows.
“Charlestown businesses are encouraged to decorate inside their windows to add to the Halloween spirit, with mindfulness to prevent gathering,” read the statement.
Gricci and the bank, always strong supporters and contributor to the Monument Square activities, are leading the collaboration with the Town’s businesses.
Finally, a Zoom call will be set up for everyone on Halloween, Oct. 31, with the Monument Square Wizard Jim Duane reading his poem, as well as other surprises. There will be more to come on that in the weeks ahead.
More than anything, however, it will be about keeping the tradition going in a year when in-person activities are difficult, if not impossible, for the large numbers that usually come to the Charlestown Halloween celebration.
“We believe this innovative approach to redirect contributions, candy, and decorations for “Eat and Treat” to the Harvest on Vine Food Pantry for the month of October, plus offering a safe Halloween 2020 ZOOM and decorations, will lift our spirits,” read the statement. “COVID-19 has disrupted 2020, but we can still have fun. We will see costumes on ZOOM. Hundreds of other residents who have passed out candy, (some for 35 years) will miss seeing the children in fantastic costumes who trick or treat, but we appreciate their understanding and support the decision to keep our community safe and healthy.”
The hope is to be able to host the parade once again in 2021 without having to completely skip the 2020 season.
Tom MacDonald, Harvest on Vine Food Pantry director, said he is grateful for the community’s support and wishes everyone a safe, fun and memorable holiday this year.
The Monument Square Halloween Parade is one of the largest community-wide events, including trick or treaters, young and old, for residents from all of Charlestown. This is the 35th Annual celebration.
Contributions are encouraged at: https://mygoodness.benevity.org/community/fundraiser/42637
Mail checks payable to “Harvest on Vine Food Pantry”: Charlestown Halloween to:
Cambridge Savings Bank; One Thompson Square; Charlestown, MA 02129.