Stormy weather is usually the biggest threat to Halloween fun – besides monsters and ghouls, of course – but this year, the COVID-19 pandemic provides an added set of obstacles for locals looking to celebrate safely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidelines for celebrating Halloween during the ongoing pandemic. Traditional trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treat events, indoor haunted houses and costume parties are considered high risk activities for spreading COVID-19 and should be avoided, according to the CDC.
Ideas for low risk activities, according to the CDC, include pumpkin carving, scavenger hunts, virtual costume contests, scary movie marathons and other pastimes that can be held at home while social distancing from other families.
The annual Prairie Days festival was canceled, but the El Campo Museum’s accompanying 5K fun run was transformed into a spooky Halloween Hustle that will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 31. Registration costs $20 for children under age 18, $30 for adults, and the race begins at the El Campo Civic Center, 2350 N. Mechanic.
“The proceeds go to our growth and revitalization projects,” EC Museum Director Cheri McGuirk said.
This year, participants can race virtually if they choose for a registration fee of $35. Runners can run wherever they want, and just need to post a photo of themselves with their medal and t-shirt on the museum’s social media page after they finish. Those who register before Oct. 17 get a t-shirt for the event, but registration will remain open up until the day of the race.
The El Campo Police Department will not be holding its annual trunk-or-treat event due to the ongoing pandemic.
“We tried to think of an alternative, but we couldn’t come up with something that would be safe for people,” ECPD Administrative Assistant Tammy Rome said.
Several local churches plan on holding modified versions of trunk-or-treat that will allow for participants to social distance.
First Baptist Church of El Campo, 206 Depot, will be hosting an outdoor, social-distancing friendly trunk-or-treat as part of its annual Fall Festival on the evening of Oct. 28. The event is free and all are welcome.
A trunk-or-treat event will be held at St. Robert’s Catholic Church, 512 Tegner, after the regular Mass on Saturday, Oct. 31. Kids can collect candy from decorated booths in the parish hall while a variety of food will be for sale. Social distancing will be encouraged and church staff will limit those who can be in the hall at one time.
“Everyone is welcome,” Brandy Flores, social media manager, said. “You don’t have to be Catholic.”
For those who don’t mind a bit of a drive, social-distancing friendly versions of Halloween events are being held in some cities.
The Creepy Hollow Haunted House, 12872 Valley Vista in Rosharon, has outdoor activities for visitors, while Redrum Fear Park, 1800 E. Hwy 90A in Richmond, will be operating at 50 percent capacity and spacing out guests as they walk through the facility. Both facilities require masks and will encourage social distancing.
The Haunted Drive, 24334 FM 2090, Splendora, is a drive-through style haunted house, and this year, visitors have the option of wearing a mask or rolling up their car windows, which are usually suggested to be left down.
Both the Houston and San Antonio Zoos are hosting “Zoo Boo” events through October, which offer kid-friendly activities with COVID-19 safety measures. The San Antonio event will be held drive-through style.