Despite discouraged trick-or-treating, Buffalo families celebrate Beggar’s Night, prepare for Halloween

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB-TV) – Despite Mayor Byron Brown’s warning that he discourages trick-or-treating with COVID-19 prevalent in the city, many people are celebrating anyway and getting creative in order to safely do so. 

Candy chutes have popped up from North Buffalo to South Buffalo and in the surrounding suburbs. 

Cayla Guadalupe made one with PVC piping that she spray-painted orange. 

“We just wanted to be as socially distant and as safe as we could while still giving people who go out an opportunity to have fun,” she said. 

Guadalupe says her set-up cost, at most, $20. She and her daughter demonstrated dropping candy in the chute from the top of the porch, and a second later, it pops out the bottom several feet away. 

She knows city officials discourage trick-or-treating, but she expects some people, citing many people discussing online their desire to still celebrate Halloween with everyone that’s been canceled this year. 

“I think that everyone’s excited over any chance to find anything work, and we just need to be proactive and work within our parameters to make it as safe as possible,” she said. 

Halloween is one of Kelly Fletcher’s favorite holidays, and she wanted her family to be able to celebrate. 

“We wanted to still have our daughter participate. It was an outdoor activity. We kind of feel like anything we can outdoors now, let’s do it,” Fletcher said. 

When her husband saw the chute idea, the couple and their neighbors who are close friends, also got on board. 

“We really wanted a way to be safe but still let the kids be able to participate and have a shred of normalcy in their lives while still keeping concern for COVID-19,” said Jessica Weiszhaar. 

Now, both Greenfield Street houses have socially distant candy chutes. 

Farther south, costumed families in Kaisertown went against the wishes of city officials by celebrating Beggar’s Night on Friday. Even though the crowds were much thinner than years’ past, those who participated appeared to put in equal effort with elaborately decorated homes and candy stations. 

“We set out a table so everyone touches their own piece of candy so we don’t have to touch them one by one,” said Nick Gerard, explaining the adaptations he and other organizers made this year. 

They used street cones to welcome in trick-or-treaters one way and send them out the other way. 

“I think everyone’s been really good about staying in the lines and then slowly going in a different direction because in other years it’s just been kind of chaos, everyone comes at once,” Gerard said of how kids are handling changes. 

And those children, most but not all of whom wore masks, were taking this unique year in stride. 

One child told News 4 it was clear less houses participated, and he and his siblings weren’t getting as much candy, but that didn’t deter him. 

“People are afraid they’ll get sick I guess, but we’re having very much fun with our family,” he said. 

“We feel safe,” said Donelle Fuller of South Buffalo who was chaperoning her family. “There are a lot of people doing chutes, throwing the candy down the chutes, and we’re in our family group, and we’re staying our distance.” 

The City of Buffalo and Amherst have both publicly discouraged trick-or-treating but are not banning it. Many other municipalities are warning residents it’s a high-risk activity but have still scheduled hours Saturday night to allow for trick-or-treating. 

Erica Brecher is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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