Chicago Halloweek 2020

This week’s blog is written by Dion McGill, SCY Communications and Community Outreach Manager. 

My fondest memories of Halloween actually don’t span back to my childhood.  Yes, I did participate in the normal Halloween practices of getting dressed up and trick – or – treating.  I even attended the occasional haunted house (which stopped at the age of about 10 due to an overly frightful experience).  However, my fondest memories are from my first years of teaching in the Tok School district in rural Alaska.

In Alaska, by Halloween, the weather was well into the -20’s.  Add that to the fact that houses can be widely dispersed (there aren’t neat little blocks like most of us here in Chicago may be accustomed to).  The “normal trick-or-treating experience simply wasn’t realistic.  However, the school district I worked for organized an event every year called Trick or Treat Street.  On Halloween, the school staff and community would come together to turn the school I worked in into a trick or treating extravaganza, complete with costumes, decorations and haunted classrooms.  I must admit I was amazed what could be done with some plywood, dark garbage bags, strobe lights, and smoke and a few hours of time.

Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t leave much in the way of a “normal” Halloween.  The City of Chicago recently released a list of eight Halloween guidelines for residents to follow as we attempt to keep the season festive, without endangering ourselves or our loved ones.

Yes, Halloween will look and feel different this year.  Yes, we can still have a good time, but it’s important to remember the basic behaviors that can help decrease the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.  To quote the City of Chicago Halloweek website, “it is important to remember that COVID-19 is still the biggest goblin we face.”

Chicago’s Eight Halloweek Guidelines

  • Masks aren’t just for trick-or-treaters this year! Everyone—including candy givers—should wear a face covering (multi-layered, covering the mouth and nose, without gaps around the face).
  • Leave a light on or hang a Halloweek sign in your window to let others know your house is giving out candy safely.
  • Handing out candy? Please socially distance and have hand sanitizer, too.
  • Trick or treating? Stay on the move! Less congregating means more houses and more candy.
  • Ensure there’s all treats and no tricks. Please don’t reach into candy bowls while trick or treating, and eat candy only at home after washing your hands.
  • No Haunted Houses. They are truly spooky and dangerous this year.
  • Keep your candy crew small. Trick-or-treating groups should be 6 people or less.
  • No house parties large or small this year.

Also, if you are a part of a business or organization doing something special for Halloween, you can have your spookiness shared by the city by signing up at their Halloweek website.  Also, if you check back the week of October 18th, you can also download the City of Chicago Halloweek Toolkit for safety guidelines and signage.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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