Aidan Taylor, dressed as a prehistoric sea turtle for Halloween trick-or-treating in 2019, emerges from the LeVan home on Burleigh Street in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file photo

WATERVILLE — The city will not provide barricades to close off Burleigh Street on Halloween this year, granting a request from several residents of the street who say it is risky to take part in trick-or-treating during the coronavirus pandemic and they will not be handing out candy.

The City Council discussed the matter Tuesday night, with Councilor Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, saying there will be a police presence on the street to ensure public safety. A small part of Burleigh Street is in Ward 4.

City Manager Michael Roy said he didn’t think barricades should be erected as that would encourage more people to flock to Burleigh Street.

Most of the street is in Ward 6, which Councilor Claude Francke represents. He asked people to keep in mind that COVID-19 cases are on the upswing in nearby states. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines recommend people avoid high-risk activities such as door-to-door trick-or-treating, he said. Instead, they may consider home decorations or virtual costume events, according to Francke.

One of the problems with having the city provide barricades for Burleigh Street, he said, is that it makes the city a party to the event and he thought the best thing to do is not provide barriers.

“All holidays are going to be affected this year, and we might as well get used to it,” Francke said.

Burleigh Street for the last 20 years has been host to a large Halloween party, with homeowners decorating their homes, dressing in costumes to greet children and spending hundreds of dollars to purchase candy. More than 1,200 children typically trick or treat on the street. The city provides barricades to residents, who erect them to block off the street.

One of the event founders, Pam Sennett, requested the barricades not be provided this Halloween. Sennett said Wednesday that she was happy the city, including police Chief Joseph Massey, responded to the request, which other Burleigh Street residents also supported.

“I believe Chief Massey’s response is appreciated and appropriate,” Sennett said. “The majority of the residents of Burleigh Street don’t want the community to think it’s Halloween as usual on Burleigh Street because it’s not going to be this year, due to COVID-19.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.