GROTON — A chicken, Pikachu and a baby shark walk into the clearing near Groton’s pavilion on Main Street.
On any other day, this would make for an intriguing joke setup. On Saturday, it was just the sights of Halloween.
In place of traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, which was highly discouraged this year by health officials because of the coronavirus pandemic, members from the Groton Fire Department hosted a socially distanced trick-or-treating event behind the village’s Main Street pavilion.
People could either remain in their cars and drive up to volunteers who handed candy to them or get out and walk up to other volunteers who handed out bags of treats.
“I hope it fills some void,” Fire Chief Ben Nelson said. “Ever since the beginning of this (pandemic), we’ve been trying to do stuff just to bring some kind of normalcy to 2020.”
Planning began at the end of September as the department was looking to host some kind of Halloween event, he said. While it was somewhat of a different set up than how normal trick-or-treating is done, people were happy to come nonetheless.
“We heard about it and it seemed like it would be a fun, safe event for the kids,” said Beth Rusin of Ithaca. Rusin came with her children, Charlotte Cole, 15, who was dressed like Scream and Michelle Jayne, 12, who was dressed as a spider witch.
“You got to celebrate Halloween somehow,” Cole said. The three planned on watching scary movies Saturday evening.
Pikachu, or Nick Wagner of Groton, was also appreciative.
“I think it’s a good substitute for what is normally done,” he said. “It keeps the risk low.”
Wagner, who came with his 7-year-old daughter Vera, who was dressed as a leopard. The two planned to go trick-or-treating with their immediate neighbors and then give out candy via a chute Saturday evening, Nick Wagner said.
Caitlin Hoag of Ithaca said she and her family liked that the event was held as there weren’t any trick-or-treating events in Ithaca.
Hoag, who came with her daughter, Anna-Lee Cobb, 7, and husband, Troy Cobb, were all dressed as playing cards.
Hoag said they were going to Moravia later Saturday evening to go trick-or-treating.
“Hopefully there’s something there, too,” she said.