Halloween changes due to COVID-19

With COVID and its effects, it is no surprise that this year’s Halloween is going to be altered. Many traditional Halloween activities can be high risk for spreading viruses, so the Centers for Disease Control has released many different Halloween alternatives.

Lower-risk activities include carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your family, decorating your living space, having a virtual Halloween costume contest and many more.

Below is a list of a few local businesses still planning on holding Halloween events:

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch

Features: Pumpkins, hay rack rides, alpacas, concessions, fire pit for s’mores and more!

Open: Oct. 3 to Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Location: 978 250th Ave., Hays, Kan.

Cost: No admission cost

Cottage Lane Pumpkin Patch in Ellis

Features: U-pick-m pumpkins, maze, farm animals, candles and fall decor

Open: Oct. 3 to Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Address: 1001 W. 15th St., Ellis, Kan.

Cost: Admission is $5, but ages three and under are free

Annual Hays City Historic Haunted Tours

Features: Tours every 15 minutes

Open: Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Location: Hays Community Theatre, 121 E. 8th St. Hays, Kan.

Cost: $10 per person

According to the www.cdc.gov, participating in traditional trick-or-treating, in which treats are handed to children who go door to door, can be a very high-risk activity. Other risky activities include attending crowded costume parties held indoors, going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together, going on hay rides or tractor rides and traveling to a rural fall festival that is nor in your community if you live in an area with community spread.

Halloween is not the only fall holiday that is going to be affected by COVID-19. The traditional Día de los Muertos held every year between Oct. 31 and Nov 2 is another festivity that will be affected. For this holiday, homes of Mexican families, and streets and public spaces of Mexican towns are decorated with colorful banners made of paper and flowers, while gatherings and parades are held.

The CDC again recommends avoiding these situations. Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting, participating in crowded indoor gatherings or events and having large dinners with people from different households are considered higher-risk activities.

Meanwhile, the Halloween & Costume Association has teamed up with the Harvard Global Health Institute to create a color-coded map that shows the COVID-19 risk by county to help parents decide how to celebrate Halloween. According to this map, which can be found at halloween2020.org, Ellis County is at risk level red with 16.1 new daily cases on average with a total of 1,118 cases.