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Will there be a Hilloween in 2020? — UPDATE: Trick or treat safety tips plus Seattle ‘safe and distanced’ candy map

Wear a mask

There are bigger worries in the world but CHS is here to also help give some thought to the smaller things. Neighbor Leo writes:

Hey @jseattle can we talk publicly about Halloween? I live in one of Seattle’s trick-or-treating hot spots where in normal years we get >1,000 kids at our door. This year, we are doing nothing. Lights out. No candy. Stay home. Do you have a sense for what’s happening this year?

Pre-COVID, Pike/Pine and Broadway are typically a Hilloween circus and the trick or treat hot zone stretching south from Volunteer Park, a candypalooza of unearthly delights. And most of it is community driven, organic, and fully unplanned. The effort, however, is high, with some spending hundreds on candy and putting hours and hours into costumes and displays.

The only thing CHS knows for sure is that will not be happening in 2020.

Informally through the grapevine as the crow flies and in our bones, the expectations for Hilloween 2020 — like the expectations for every day of the year since March — are for a toned down, probably a little bizarre version of the past.

In the trick or treat zone, you’ll see some of the typical yard displays but the few neighbors CHS has heard from have expressed concern about encouraging crowds anything like those the area typically sees. Parents are working out smaller, more local trick or treat routes with friends. And some are probably hard at work on a few devices like these candy chutes. So there will be treats. But this is not the year for ringing a doorbell without an invitation.

The city’s community centers are also going to be quiet on the Halloween and fall festival front. If you’re looking for a fun project, think of the kids in areas of the city farther from the city’s trick or treat hot zones.

As for the nightlife and bar zones, crowds of some sort are all but guaranteed. So far, most promotion has been extremely subdued. Vito’s on First Hill is a good example. For its 2020 Halloween party, the First Hill hangout is hosting a “costume only” version of its annual ER Costume Crawl:

With reduced in-dining capacity and no live entertainment, it would be reckless (and illegal) to host a Halloween party this year. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t host a party for your costumes. That is right – starting October 9th, Vito’s will begin accepting costumes only to populate our bar and dancefloor, fill up the lounge and maybe even a costumes-only band. You make your free-standing (or sitting) costume entry, drop it off, and we’ll stage the scariest, strangest, most surreal everything-but-the-human costume party. Our $500.00 grand prize is your reward.

But Pike/Pine can already look oddly normal on a Saturday night under current restrictions. Even with 11 PM last call, there will be costumes. Hopefully most include masks.

UPDATE: County health officials have issued a set of recommendations for trick or treating this year — for those planning to give out candy and the ghosts and goblins hoping to score some:

During the pandemic, trick-or-treating presents some new challenges. Door-to-door trick-or-treating will likely bring people into close contact, especially if people gather and cluster on doorsteps and walkways. It’s also difficult to ensure that everyone is wearing the right face coverings or masks. Trunk-or-treating (when people go from car to car instead of door to door) may also be difficult to do while keeping adequate social distance. While we have continued spread of COVID-19 in our community, Public Health is encouraging other options.

If you are thinking about trick-or-treating, here are some things to consider:

  • If you want to give out treats, understand the level of risk you’re willing to take. Packaged food is not considered a common source of coronavirus exposure, but it’s not without risk. If you put out a bowl of candy, a larger number of people will touch the bowl and candy. If you hand out candy out individually, fewer people touch the candy, but they come into closer contact with one another, especially if children line up outside the door. It’s close contact with others that creates the greater risk of COVID spread..
  • Reduce risk in how you hand out treats. Options to reduce (but not eliminate) risk include:
    • Use tape to mark waiting spots 6 feet apart on the way up to your door.
    • Use fun ways to give the candy while staying 6 feet apart, like slide the candy down a wrapping paper tube into their trick-or-treat bags. Or individually wrap goodie bags and line them up for families to grab and go while staying social distanced (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).
    • When you answer the door for trick-or-treaters, wear a mask.
  • Wear masks that snugly covers the nose and mouth as part of the Halloween costume. Kids can decorate cloth face coverings with fabric markers or embellishments to go with their costumes! Avoid plastic masks with holes—commercial costume masks won’t provide the same level of protection unless they are made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that fit with no gaps around the face. Make sure kids wear their masks while trick-or-treating.
  • Make sure children (and adults) stay at least six feet apart from others. If you can’t keep physical distance, it’s best to avoid activities like trick-or-treating or going to a crowded pumpkin patch.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly when you get home. Carry hand sanitizer so that kids can wash their hands while trick-or-treating.
  • Set aside any candy that comes from outside your household for 24 hours before allowing children to handle it. Reality check: we know that it’s too much to ask of kids to wait to eat their candy. You might purchase a small amount of candy in advance so that you can have candy on hand that your kids can eat immediately on Halloween.

UPDATE x2: A reader writes:

I live on 16th Ave E. near Aloha which is a prime trick or treating neighborhood. Somebody has put together this map of houses that are participating in giving away candy this year and how it is going to be delivered (knock at door, remote pickup, etc). It would be great to get the word out and have Capitol Hill residents add their houses to the list.

Here is the cross-city Halloween candy map with locations planning to provide safe and distanced trick or treating fun.

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18th Ave East
18th Ave East
3 months ago

Lots of decorations for us but sorry no candy this year!

3 months ago

My son is about to turn 11 and this will be his first Halloween not trick or treating on 16th and 17th. We’re heading out to Bainbridge for socially distanced spooky forest walk on grandma’s property… It’s not quite the same as my him getting bags of candy (while I enjoy the tequila shots that Dan Savage’s husband always offers) but we’re all adapting.

3 months ago
Reply to  Ariel

You could tie candy in reflective foil to low branches, give him a flashlight, and make it like an Easter egg hunt in the woods.