Right now Halloween as we know it, with kids trick-or-treating, is a go next month. But do not be one bit surprised if our governor decides to issue another executive order and demand it not happen.

As coronavirus fatalities near 200,000 in the United States, as projections are more than 400,000 dead by January, Los Angeles County, California already banned it. Their guidelines state, “door-to-door trick-or-treating is not allowed because it can be very difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors especially in neighborhoods that are popular with trick or treaters.”

Phil Murphy, who during the gubernatorial campaign bragged he dreamed of turning New Jersey into the California of the East Coast, could feel the pressure to do the same. So far he’s saying trick-or-treating is still a go.

“As far as this moment in time, Halloween’s still on in New Jersey,” he recently told NJ.com. Think about how he qualified the statement, leaving himself a huge out should he change his mind. “We’re gonna have to do things very carefully. I’m sure we’re gonna have protocols that we’ll come to. And God willing, the virus stays under control.”

These are the words of a governor very afraid of making a mistake. If this transmission rate that has been teetering on the line between the virus spreading and dying out should tick upwards, my money is on Murphy canceling Halloween. The right will vilify him for this like never before. The emperor cold-heartedly stealing candy from kids like the Jimmy Kimmel bit only not a prank.

He’s not the only official concerned. In Hunterdon County, the quaint town of Lambertville is asking people to skip it this year. The police department put out a press release telling folks trick-or-treating would be “at their own risk.”

“Lambertville typically welcomes thousands of visitors on Halloween for safe and fun trick-or-treating, however, given the high rate of airborne transmission, such a high concentration of people is simply unsafe from a public health perspective,” it read in part.

Hopefully we don’t see this in too many towns. Lambertville gets thousands of people in their town for Halloween, many outsiders, so I’m not going to jump on them for advising against it. Huge crowds gathered together spreads the virus. So their concerns are not invalid.

For most towns, groups of children who tend to be friends previously exposed to each other anyway usually stay in their own packs when trick-or-treating. If one pack does cross paths with another at a crowded doorstep it will be very brief, not the several minutes we hear when given exposure warnings.

So I don’t think trick-or-treating should be canceled, but I absolutely will be surprised if it is not. This governor has not been shy to assert control over this virus. We’ve lost track of all his executive orders. But I hope he leaves it at urging social distancing that night and other safety measures.

Kids lives are being emotionally damaged by the events of 2020. Virtual learning has isolated them. Family wasn’t able to see them for the longest time. Children have suffered. I understand most of it was necessary.

Children have lost most touchstones to their lives in this pandemic. To take away Halloween is to take away magic. That magic of childhood is the energy we carry with us into adulthood when we have our own kids. It’s been a terrible year to be a child. If there’s a safe way to do it let’s leave them some magic even if it’s only scraps.

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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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