LOUISBURG – Halloween on Broadway is scheduled to take place Oct. 24 in downtown Louisburg.
The Louisburg City Council at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 8, approved blocking off streets for the event.
Jennifer Leikam, one of the primary event organizers and spokesperson, said organizers wanted to have the event a week before Halloween for a couple of reasons.
“I don’t want to take away from those neighborhoods who are anticipating children (on Halloween),” Leikam said. “Secondly, we don’t want to overburden our first responders, our police department – who are normally here on Broadway with us – having to work that event and be prepared for Halloween as well.”
Leikam told council members that organizers thought Oct. 24 would be better and give children the opportunity to attend Halloween on Broadway and also go trick-or-treating on Halloween, if they choose to do so.
Each year, Halloween on Broadway attracts families to the downtown business district where children have an opportunity to receive candy and other goodies as they walk in front of the businesses along the street. Children, and some parents, come decked out in their Halloween costumes – as do some of the business owners and employees volunteering at the event.
The businesses, not the city, put on Halloween on Broadway, but organizers have to seek permission from the City Council each year to barricade off the downtown section of Broadway to prevent through traffic.
This year, Halloween on Broadway plans to encompass additional space – roughly a block on either side of Broadway, from Peoria to Mulberry streets – to allow the event to be spread over a larger area as an extra health safety precaution, Leikam said.
Leikam said organizers want to be respectful of people residing in those areas off Broadway. For additional room to spread out, the group also would like to explore use of the farmers’ market lot at the corner of South Second and Mulberry streets, one block west of Louisburg’s downtown business district, she said.
“If we can spread out, maybe we won’t have such a large line and everybody on top of each other,” Leikam said. “We’re also considering instead of going from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., we want to go from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.”
The extra hour might also help spread out the crowd because not everyone would feel like they have to show up at the same time, Leikam said.
She said those who have COVID-19 concerns should not feel obligated to attend the event this year.
Police and fire department representatives did not have any objections to holding the event or providing the additional space on the side streets. Neither did council members.
Fire Chief Gerald Rittinghouse said the fire department will have a presence at the event but children will not be allowed on the trucks this year.
“I know a lot of things have been cancelled, but this is something we really want to try and go forward with,” Leikam said. “I’ve heard nothing but positive things: ‘Please let our kids have something.’”
Leikam said organizers realize nothing is set in stone and the situation could change during the next few weeks.
“If we foresee there is going to be a plethora of issues, if a huge outbreak occurs in Louisburg, then we’re going to know it’s not going to be possible,” Leikam said. “But we really want to try to have this event.”