WILTON — With shortened daylight hours and increasing COVID cases, darker times are ahead, both literally and figuratively.

To brighten up the waning days of 2020, the Wilton Youth Council’s Free Play Task Force is unveiling its “Wilton’s Bright Lights” initiative intended to bring “hope and joy in the dark.”

“We understand that there will be significant disruptions to our fall, winter and holiday traditions and limited opportunity to be with those we love,” a press release from the task force said. Its initiative is “an opportunity for our community to come together and bring more light into our lives.”

The task force is proposing families decorate the exterior of their homes, their yards and even their mailboxes with lights — clear or colored — “to show our unity, fostering a feeling of connection so that we can find strength in this shared experience and be resilient.”

“Ever since we had to cancel our third annual ‘Wilton’s Big Block Party Weekend’ due to COVID, we’ve been brainstorming ideas to safely connect with our neighborhoods and community,” said Vanessa Elias, co-leader of the task force.

“We are thrilled to introduce this idea as a way to feel connected to our community, increase our sense of belonging and to create and find joy. We need it now, more than ever.”

The block party weekends were designed to help in spread out neighborhoods get to know one another and create more opportunity for children to play together. The idea was well-received, bringing thousands of people together in hundreds of block parties in its first two years, the task force said.

“Light is one of the most universal symbols and assures us of brighter days to come. Lights are a sign of hope, unity, life and wisdom,” said Genevieve Eason, also co-leader of the task force.

The task force is inviting residents to light up their displays now and continue through Feb. 14. “Starting with hope and ending with love,” said Rosalie Witt, also a co-leader.

The task force encourages participants to spread the word organically, through flyers created by children and distributed among neighbors.

People are advised to keep it simple and not create a competition. The task force recommends using the “Wilton’s Big Block Party Weekend” Facebook page to share locations and neighborhoods on where there are lights so families may drive by and enjoy them. Participants are encouraged to tag their social media posts with #wiltonsbrightlights and share on the block party Facebook page.