A Happy Halloween: City celebrations continue with COVID-19 safety measures in mind

The crisp weather of autumn brings with it an air of nostalgia for many. Maybe a pointy witch hat and broom. Or a long flowing cloak and fangs with fall leaves crunching beneath your feet as you are running from house to house, stuffing your bag full of sugary sweets.

Halloween is a night for family fun — and maybe a little spooky mischief. But the fate of Halloween this year, a year where COVID-19 has flipped everyday life on its head, is a question on many people’s mind. Each day we must navigate and adapt our lives. And adapting a beloved holiday to new guidelines may be difficult, but not impossible.

The Parks and Recreation Department of Port Huron will be hosting their annual Halloween Stroll for its 31st year.

Reflecting on previous years, Kati Gardner, head of the event, says, “In 2019, more than 1,500 kids made their way through the trails filling their bags with Halloween candy.” The adored event where families were able trick or treat will now be making some changes as they adapt to new safety guidelines.

This Halloween, starting at 10 a.m., the stroll will be at Desmond Landing and will be alongside Touch a Truck, a Halloween event that will show off some decorated trucks perfect for a spooky selfie. The Halloween Stroll will modify their set up to become a drive-thru event, which lets families stock up on sweets and view the decorations from the comfort and safety of their vehicle.

“We are also encouraging families to decorate their own vehicles for Halloween to add to the festivities. Visitors will be asked to vote online for their favorite station, and the winner will receive the coveted Halloween Stroll 2020 Best Decorated Station trophy,” Gardner says. Volunteers at each of the stations will follow proper social distancing protocol and will be equipped with masks and gloves while handing out pre-wrapped goodies.

“We know it will be different, but it is our top priority to do everything we can to ensure safety first.”

Those interested in cruising through the Halloween Stroll can pre-register for the event on the parks and rec website. There you can find registration slots, ticket prices, and volunteer opportunities.

“It is still possible for local businesses to participate but time is running out,” Gardner says. “Just call the recreation department.”

When asked what she hopes for the Halloween Stroll this year, Gardner says she hopes that everyone has a blast. “We are working really hard to make sure it will be enjoyable for everyone who attends.” And with a year that has been full of upheaval and uncertainty, all you can hope for is some fun.

The Halloween Stroll is not the last event of the year for the parks and rec department either. Starting late November through January 2nd, the department will host its first-ever Light Up Pine Grove Winter Celebration! It’s a festive light event that also calls on the support of local businesses and volunteers. Many of their other popular events will take the shift to virtual and will be held over ZOOM Meeting, YouTube, and Facebook. More information on the events and ways to get involved can be found on their website www.porthuronrec.com or their social media platforms @phrec.
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