By Zoe Seiler, contributor

Decatur, GA — Halloween is going to look different this year with coronavirus safety precautions implemented and some events canceled. Residents in Decatur and surrounding areas are finding creative ways to hand out candy or are planning to stay home.

Some residents are making 6-foot PVC pipe candy chutes to slide candy to trick or treaters. Others are going to put candy in individual bags and have a table set up for kids to pick up the bags. Some parents are also planning scavenger hunts or Halloween-themed egg hunts for their children.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses and said there are safer, alternative ways to participate in the holiday.

“If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters,” the CDC website says.

The CDC has recommended lower risk activities, which include but are not limited to:

– Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household or with friends outside while social distancing

– Decorating your home

– Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given a list of things to search for while they walk outside from house to house admiring decorations at a distance.

The CDC has also listed moderate risk activities, which include but are not limited to:

– Participating in one-way trick or treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to take while maintaining social distance

– Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade that is socially distanced

– Hosting an outdoor movie night with local family friends while staying 6 feet apart

The CDC also has a list of high-risk activities that should be avoided. These activities include, but are not limited to:

– Participating in traditional trick or treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door

– Hosting trunk or treat events

– Attending crowded costume parties that are held indoors

More information about Halloween and other holidays can be found on the CDC website.

Here’s a preview what Halloween will look like in Decatur and surrounding areas this year.

The city of Avondale Estates

The city of Avondale Estates will not sanction or support any trick or treating activities in the city this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Door-to-door trick-or-treating, which is known to draw in hundreds of ghosts, goblins, and superheroes from neighboring areas, is too much of a health risk in the midst of COVID-19. And sidewalks crowded with children and their parents celebrating on a weekend holiday this year would make social distancing impossible,” the city announced on Sept. 21

The city’s annual Halloween Spirit Awards for decorating will be the main event this year and voting will be digital and open to the public. Residents and businesses are encouraged to decorate and compete for awards such as spookiest, most creative and children’s appeal. Businesses can also compete against each other for the overall best design, the city announced.

Entries must be submitted by Oct. 23 at noon to the form on the city’s website. Online voting will be held on Oct. 26 through Oct. 28. Winners will be announced on Oct. 29, according to the city’s website.

The city of Clarkston

Clarkston City Manager Robin Gomez said the city does not have any additional or new guidance for Halloween and no events have been cancelled. He recommended that residents continue to follow COVID-19 standard guidance.

The city of Decatur

The city of Decatur is reminding residents of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and reinforcing the three w’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance, Decatur City Manager Andrea Arnold said.

Currently, the city plans to share the CDC’s Halloween specific guidelines and suggest safe alternatives to traditional Halloween activities on the city’s social media channels, Arnold said.

 

Residents will still be able to participate in the Decorate Decatur contest where everyone is encouraged to decorate their yards with Halloween decorations. The best display will win the Commissioners Cauldron for Halloween and for the holidays, the winner receives the Commissioners Cup.

Residents can vote for their favorite entry through the Visit Decatur website by Sunday, Oct. 25. Winners will be posted on the Decatur Minute blog and the Decorate Decatur Facebook page.

Oakhurst (A Decatur neighborhood)

Oakhurst resident Huckleberry Starnes sets up a “candy lab” at his home on McKoy Street. The lab will also include a motorized lift for the candy that will lead to slide for the candy so it reaches trick or treaters. Photo submitted by Huckleberry Starnes.

Residents of Oakhurst are doing what they feel comfortable with. Some residents are staying home while others are planning to go trick or treating and are finding ways to hand out candy.

Resident Huckleberry Starnes said his family has created a socially distanced “candy lab” to hand out candy. The set up includes a motorized lift for the candy and will include a slide.

“So we will be dropping the candy onto a conveyor belt that lifts it up the tower and then drops it on the complicated slide,” he said.

Some residents on Madison Avenue are doing reverse trick or treating where adults will bring the candy to the children on Oct. 30.

“So the night before Halloween the kids will dress up and stay in their yards and the adults will throw the candy to them,” said Madison Burnett, an organizer of the event.

She added that many families on Madison Avenue didn’t feel that trick or treating was safe this year as the street draws a large amount of trick or treaters every year. Adults and children risk being bunched around doorways or candy bowls, she said.

Organizers have a sign up for five-minute intervals to ensure social distancing. They also have signs available for residents to put out on Halloween night that will say “No Trick or Treaters Please! Covid is too scary!” or something similar, Burnett said.

Resident Barbara Palumbo is planning to make a candy chute to hand out candy to families who may still come to Madison Avenue on Halloween night.  She plans to provide 100 kids and adult face masks to give away and will mark six-foot distances on the sidewalk leading up to the chute with chalk.

Some are also planning to limit access to their porches with caution tape to maintain social distancing with trick or treaters; or with tape on a doorstop to discourage children from coming to the door.

The city of Tucker

The city of Tucker is encouraging residents to use their best common sense and to prioritize safety when it comes to trick or treating, said Matt Holmes, director of communications and administrative services.

“That could be finding safe alternatives to trick-or-treating or simply staying socially distant and wearing a mask while trick-or-treating,” Holmes said.

He added that the organizers of the Main Street Trunk or Treat event decided to cancel this year as the event draws thousands of trick or treaters and families.

However, the city is sponsoring events on Oct. 30 and 31 to allow residents to enjoy the holiday while social distancing and following safety protocols, Holmes said.

The Tucker Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a haunted trail hike at Henderson Park on Oct. 30 from 2 to 7 p.m. The hike will use QR code technology to tell participants the story of the monster lurking in Lake Erin, according to a press release. Reservations for the event are required in order to ensure social distancing.

The parks and recreation staff will also be at parks throughout the city for drive-through trick or treating on Oct. 31 from 1 to 3 p.m. to hand out candy. Parents are instructed to have their families stay in their cars, the press release says.

East Lake (An Atlanta neighborhood)

The East Lake Neighborhood Community Association and the East View Cemetery are hosting an event called A Grave Affair on Oct. 31. from 4 to 8 pm. the event will focus on children and families. It will include a socially distant costume contest, trunk or treat, pumpkin carving, craft making and ghost stories, according to the Facebook event.

From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. the event will be focused more on adults with a performance by a local band, raffle prizes, food trucks and beer and wine will be available for suggested…



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