The leaves have changed, the air has turned crisp and pumpkins and gourds line many of the streets, but there’s no denying the elephant in the room: Halloween looks quite different this year.
One difference is the historic blue moon that will take place on Halloween night, but the more palpable distinction is the ever-present global pandemic still raging across the United States. North Denver residents, especially those with children, are contemplating various ways to celebrate Halloween within COVID-19 guidelines.
Stacey Williams Levy lives with her husband, 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son in North Park Hill. Levy said she tried to make a bigger deal out of costumes this year to distract her children from the shortcomings of this year’s Halloween.
“We were trying to go bigger that way,” Levy said. “We knew that [Halloween] might not be as exciting – or just in general things haven’t been as exciting – and they can’t wear them to school this year.”
Levy is leaning towards celebrating Halloween with another family with kids. She plans to bring a bunch of her own candy so that even if trick-or-treating is looking like a no-go, the kids can still get their sugar fix and socialize in a safe way.
According to its website, The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment “encourages alternatives to traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating this year” because of COVID-19, though the activity is not specifically discouraged.
“It’s so hard to figure out what the right thing to do is as a parent right now,” Levy said. “I don’t know what to do.”
Robert Wade is another parent who sought out options for his kids. Having recently moved to Sunnyside with his 13 and 15-year-old sons, Wade turned to Nextdoor, the social-networking service for neighborhoods, to gauge whether his neighborhood would be open to trick-or-treaters.
His online inquiry garnered about 60 responses. Many people shared unique alternatives to giving out candy this year which included slides and individually wrapped bags of candy.
“If people are willing to give out candy, as long as we’re being safe, then why not,” Wade said.
And being safe is of paramount importance to Wade and his boys. Wade currently takes medications for a disability that weakens his immune system. He has to be extremely cautious of his children’s whereabouts and activities.
“The boys know that they have to be very careful,” Wade said. “They know that dad will have a very, very hard time and a very low chance of recovering if I were to get sick.”
But his social-media inquiry left him hopeful for his boys. He plans to let his kids trick-or-treat in a socially distant manner while wearing masks, and also attend a trunk-or-treat event at the Denver Bookbinding Company on Halloween night that goes from 5:30 p.m. to 7. The event will require masks and allow for groups no greater than five to travel together from one spaced out car to the next, according to Gail Lindley, owner of Denver Bookbinding Company.
The event will also have hot chocolate, cookies and fresh cotton candy up for grabs while a 3D video presentation chockfull of spooky storytelling and singing pumpkins is projected onto the front window of the building for families to enjoy outside.
Lindley has two grandchildren who are four and six years old. She said her older grandchild was the “prodding factor” on putting the event together after she kept asking if she’d get to have a Halloween this year.
The event is part of a larger effort on behalf of Sunnyside United Neighbors, Inc. and multiple partnering businesses to make the holiday safe and fun for the kids of North Denver. Saturday’s events will also include free pumpkin carving, costume contests and a Día de los Muertos celebration. Check out the website or Facebook page for more details.
Abigail Seaberg is a neighborhood correspondent for Bucket List Community Cafe. Born and raised in Massachusetts and a recent graduate of the University of Richmond, Abby decided on a change of scenery last January when she moved to Denver. Since then, she’s been freelancing, waitressing and taking in all the beauty Colorado has to offer. You can reach Abby at firstname.lastname@example.org.