Halloween on a Saturday night – any other year it would be a big reason to celebrate, but with COVID playing the ultimate global trick, many neighborhoods across the Bay Area are cancelling or scaling back festivities.
For the last 10 years, two households in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose had a friendly Halloween competition to see who could add more items to their house decorations.
But this year things will be different on Halloween night. There’s usually a parade in the neighborhood, but it’s been cancelled. Still, some households decided that they wanted to have some kind of celebration.
“What we’re doing this year, we’re going to keep the gate closed, set up some tables on the outside and kind of do a little chute which I’ve seen on TV,” said Dave Fowler of San Jose. “Some people are doing a little chute with the candy.”
Fowler and his family usually hand out hot chocolate to parents while their kids enjoy activities in his courtyard – but not this year.
The neighborhood has distributed some suggestions if residents plan to have Halloween.
“They’ve put a memo in everyone’s mailbox, and basically it just said to practice social distancing and respect people if they don’t have lights on,” said San Jose resident Autumn Martin.
Many of those suggestions match the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for a safer celebration this year.
Those include avoiding contact with trick-or-treaters, giving treats outside, setting up a station so kids can pick up their own treats, washing hands throughout the evening and wearing a mask – not just a costume mask, but a cloth one.
“You’re wearing masks and most everybody has gloves on with their costumes too, so I’m not really concerned,” Martin said.
Several neighborhoods in Menlo Park are asking people not to trick or treat at all.
But in the midst of such a strange year, a socially-distanced, carefully planned night of witches, candy and pumpkins sounds like a relief for kids.
“I’m very excited,” said San Jose resident Tanner Martin.