Amanda Cooper’s kids could hardly sleep Thursday night because they were so excited for costume day, as they called it, at school the next morning.
For more than 10 years, Georgetown Community School students have spent their Halloween — or the Friday before, in this case — parading through the county building and down Sixth Street in their colorful and creative costumes. While the kids are collecting their candy, parents are collecting photos and videos of them to mark the occasion.
It’s a tradition that couldn’t have happened this year without county and school officials, local businesses and other community members, who modified the event to ensure everyone’s health and safety.
Classes were spaced out instead of all going through at once to prevent cross-contamination, candy was distributed via tubes at least 6 feet long, much of the activity remained outside, and everyone wore masks — and not just the Halloween kind.
Director Tina Ozee said she was extremely grateful to everyone who made it possible, commenting, “I appreciate the businesses following the safety recommendations, so (the students) can participate in an activity they look forward to all year long.”
Third-grader Brooklyn Humphrey, who took on the appearance of creepy doll Annabelle, has participated in the parade before. She said catching the candy as it slid down the tubes was more of a challenge than the typical collection method.
Jackie Marble, a second-grader who was sporting vampire attire, said she appreciated getting to see her family during the parade. As a new GCS student, this was Jackie’s first Halloween parade, and she called it a lot of fun.
Second-grader and Rambo lookalike Everett Perimon, participating in his first GCS Halloween parade, said he appreciated all the inventions the adults used to distribute candy.
While the county provided tubes to some local businesses, others had their own. Meanwhile, one station had candy bags clipped to string with clothes pins and another at Strousse Park had goodies perched on the fence.
Cooper and fellow GCS parent Jamie Kochevar were downtown Friday to watch the parade. When they saw there were more candy tubes than adults to operate them, they volunteered to help.
“It doesn’t get much safer than being outside, socially distanced, wearing masks,” Kochevar said.
Cooper added: “It’s fun for them, and it’s fun for us.”
Physical education teacher Tyler Frazier said allowing the students to participate in the parade provided a sense of normalcy for them, and he appreciated how the candy tubes and other decorations were creative and safe.
He estimated that this year’s crowd was a little smaller than usual but as enthusiastic as ever.
Educational coordinator Samantha Klemm added that the parade was a substitute for those GCS families who opted out of trick-or-treating Saturday night.
“It’s a tradition,” she said of the parade. “I’m glad we got to do it this year.”