This year’s Halloween will likely be a tubular event.
As county officials and event organizers try to figure out ways to keep everyone safe this Halloween, tubes are among the ways people can distribute candy to trick-or-treaters while maintaining social distancing.
Tim Ryan, the county’s director of Public & Environmental Health, said during a Sept. 23 countywide resiliency meeting that trick-or-treating without changes would probably be the best way to spread COVID-19 in the community.
However, his department is working with organizers on how to have safe Halloween events rather than canceling them altogether.
He suggested the events should have stations where glove-wearing adults drop candy down a 6-foot tube to trick-or-treaters. Everyone should be wearing COVID-19 face coverings, and trick-or-treaters shouldn’t mix with other groups while visiting the stations.
He also recommended what he called a candy quarantine, where parents leave candy from trick-or-treating or Halloween events untouched for 48 hours.
“I’m not trying to cancel Halloween; I’m trying to make it so that activities are as safe as possible,” Ryan continued. “… Even if we made a declaration (canceling Halloween), people would do it anyway. I would rather have people be in the know than outright ban it and people do it anyway.”
He encouraged community members to continue thinking of creative ways to incorporate these safety measures into Halloween activities and events, such as decorating candy-distribution tubes.
Tina Ozee, director of Georgetown Community School, said her staff and students are still planning their annual Halloween parade through the county building and down Sixth Street on Friday, Oct. 30.
There will be precautions on both sides, she said, including county staff members using tubes to distribute candy.
“It’s a big deal to celebrate something like that,” she said of maintaining a fun tradition for students during the pandemic.
Along with the GCS parade, event organizers and health officials also are trying to figure out safety measures for Carlson Elementary’s parade and Georgetown’s trunk-or-treat event.
Trick-or-treating Halloween night
While official events, such as the trick-or-treat parades, are still on, local officials pointed out it will be harder to ensure safety during unofficial activities on Halloween night.
Idaho Springs Mayor Mike Hillman described how people from outside the community trick-or-treat along Colorado Boulevard, and he was worried about the door-to-door traffic.
While Hillman suggested that many residents will opt out of distributing candy this year, Ryan said there will likely still be plenty of families wanting to trick-or-treat to get out of the house.
If children want to consume candy while trick-or-treating, Ryan recommended that parents buy their own ahead of time and bring it along. That way, families can maintain the candy quarantine on items collected Halloween night.
Other county staff members said they would coordinate with the health department to get the word out to communities and promote safe Halloween activities.