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No trick-or-treating this year: Boulder and Weld officials advise people to prevent coronavirus spread

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Officials across Boulder and Weld counties this year are discouraging traditional forms of trick-or-treating, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, people are asked to follow the Centers for Disease Control, state and county guidelines on safe ways to celebrate Halloween as the number of virus cases continues to rise across the state.

Boulder County Public Health issued guidelines on the holiday emphasizing that traditional trick-or-treating is “not safe” this year. The county advises that people engage in “safer” activities such as short, socially distanced trick-or-treating and outdoor activities, and emphasizes people should wear a face covering and remain socially distanced from those outside their household. The safest options, according to the county’s guidelines, are virtual activities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alongside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, also issued guidelines for people to follow this Halloween. Both advise that people find an alternative to trick-or-treating, such as a scavenger hunt for candy. For those who want to hand out candy, the CDPHE advises lining up treats at the edge of a driveway or yard.

Officials across Boulder and Weld counties said they would be following state and county guidelines and ask that people understand that traditional trick-or-treating this year is not safe, but that there are alternatives to celebrating the holiday.

Longmont’s Assistant City Manager Sandi Seader encouraged people to look at state and county guidelines.

Hudson Wolfe, 4, tries to choose his pumpkin with his aunt Jessie Holly, not pictured, at Anderson Farms on Wednesday in Erie. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

“There are a lot of creative ways that the public can enjoy the holiday without traditional trick-or-treating, and we encourage neighbors to communicate and work together to determine how they will make this Halloween safe for everyone,” Seader wrote in an email.

Seader emphasized that a state mandate is in place, limiting gatherings to 10 people from no more than two different households. The CDPHE amended the Safer at Home order last week, based on an “alarming increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19,” according to its website.

Boulder County Public Health on Monday announced that the rise in cases could result in a move to Safer at Home Level 3 on the state’s dial and more restrictions on group gatherings, fitness activities and the number of people permitted in some kinds of businesses.

Neighboring communities echoed Longmont’s call to find alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating.

In Prospect, an urbanist community in southwest Longmont, Ian Stonington, a spokesperson for the board of directors for the Prospect Homeowners Association, said trick-or-treating is discouraged. He said the community usually sees “hundreds” of trick-or-treaters lining the streets in search of candy.

“It’s probably our biggest attraction and community event of the year,” he wrote in an email.

This year, Stonington said the coronavirus surge is “too serious” to allow for trick-or-treating.

“The community simply doesn’t want an in-person event that might pose a health concern and (trick-or-treating) does not follow CDC guidelines,” Stonington said in the email.

Paul Hurst and his son Tabor Hurst trudge through the mud in the corn maze on Wednesday at Anderson Farms in Erie. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

Other communities are seeking to engage their residents in safe ways. Lyons encourages people to take place in a virtual costume contest by sharing photos of their costumes. The pictures will be shared on the town’s Facebook, and the one with the most “likes” will win a prize and “bragging rights,” according to the page. The town’s website also encourages people to check out state and CDC guidelines before making plans for the holiday.

Boulder County shared its guidelines on its website and listed several safe events, including a virtual cemetery tour and a drive-in Halloween movie from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Flatirons Golf Course, 5706  Arapahoe Ave. The city also created a page for “5 Ways to Party Safely This Halloween — Told in GIFs,” including a costume party only with housemates, a virtual costume contest and watching a Halloween movie.

“We recognize that Halloween won’t be the same this year, but it doesn’t have to be boring,” said Shelby Condit, a city spokesperson. “Traditional trick-or-treating is discouraged due to the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19. We encourage community members to find ways to celebrate safely, while following all public health guidance.”

Lorelei Nelson, a public information officer for Mead, said the town is not hosting any Halloween events this year.

“We are encouraging everyone to follow CDPHE guidelines,” Nelson said in a phone interview Tuesday. “Look at guidelines for different ways to celebrate this year.”

Frederick spokesperson Angela Wilson said the town has been sharing state and CDC guidelines in its newsletters and on social media. Wilson, who lives in Frederick, said she feels confident that residents will be safe and responsible.

“Sounds like residents are taking very proactive measures,” Wilson said. “They have been talking among themselves and they are looking at ways to make the holiday safe.”


Halloween guidelines from county and state officials

CDPHE: bit.ly/2TzQENK

Boulder County: bit.ly/2G8faCp

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