Halloween Takes on a New Look in Arlington

Leftover heating pipe, plywood, bungee cords and a couple of hours, and you have a couple of Halloween treat chutes. “Candy or stuffed animal?”

Gary Huber stands at the top of his steps on O’Brien Street and places a treat at the top of the long silver chute that he has constructed out of leftover heating pipe in order to minimize contact during the pandemic. Tiny hands clutching pumpkin buckets wait at the other end on the sidewalk. Eyes pop open each time a treat rockets down the chute. It is mid-afternoon on Halloween, and the small kids have started early.

Elle Dipasquele watches the chute with expectation as her stuffed animal zips down the silver tube and lands in her hands. She is lucky, since she gets to catch another treat for her baby sister nearby. Spider-Man steps up next as his mom wishes everyone around a Happy Halloween.

Word spreads quickly, and a small crowd gathers like a magnet on the corner. “What a great idea. This is so much fun.” The decision is tough and each child lingers over the decision of candy or stuffed animal looking around as though a decision will come out of thin air. Huber says so far the stuffed animals have won out with the little ones.

The pandemic has made Arlingtonians rethink traditional Halloween trick or treat candy, often offered in bowls. Some have chosen to arrange stay-at-home activities and others are offering individually filled bags “socially distanced” on a card table in the front yard. This year everyone is wearing masks, from a small furry black cat to the parents nearby with the standard blue pandemic shields.

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