Gaithersburg neighbors at odds over Halloween in the midst of coronavirus pandemic

Halloween is less than two weeks away and some neighbors are clashing over trick or treating during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Nextdoor, an app to connect neighbors, some Gaithersburg residents who said they would hand out candy were met with pushback from people who criticized the decision. One woman expressed concern that Halloween could end up a “super spreader” and others noted that Montgomery County is urging people not to trick or treat.

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Terry Lieberthal, who lives in the Lakelands neighborhood, was among those who said she would give out candy, but through a six-foot candy shoot that will go from her porch to her yard. She said Halloween is her favorite holiday and in the past has had as many as 400 trick or treaters. 

“I’m going to put the candy down the chute, the kids can stand there with their bags and we can enjoy the holiday without anybody being in danger,” said Lieberthal. “So I think it can be done.”

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Down the street, FOX 5 saw another home with their candy shoot at the ready. 

A couple walking past said they hoped kids could find another way to celebrate Halloween this year, especially because how busy their neighborhood gets with trick or treaters. 

“I’m worried about the kids getting sick, yeah that I’m worried about,” said Shellie Goldstein. “And everybody else that will get sick. I don’t want to see that.”

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Lieberthal, who’s also a cancer survivor, says she’s appreciates and understands the concern. 

“I understand because being over 60 I’m very afraid of this virus also,” said Lieberthal. “But I think I can do it safely.”

Like Montgomery County, the Centers for Disease Control is not recommending traditional door to door trick or treating. The CDC has recommendations for “safer” options, saying people should avoid direct contact, give treats outdoors, set up a station with individually bagged candy, wash hands and use hand sanitizer frequently, wear a mask and make sure to stay six feet apart.