Nikkee Francisco is rethinking her candy delivery system for Saturday, Oct. 31.
“My plan is to have a candy pipe that I will send candy down from inside the house to the end of my stairs while wearing gloves,” said Francisco, an art specialist at Superior High School.
Her neighbors are talking about setting up a table of candy that they can refill as needed. In the past, Francisco said they’ve had more than 1,000 costumed children stop by their Hammond Avenue residences to trick-or-treat.
“I doubt we will hit that mark this year, but I know that Hammond Avenue is often referred to as Halloween Avenue,” Francisco said. “So those of us that are able to wanted to be able to carry on the tradition for the kids and families.”
Local churches and nonprofit organizations are also seeking safe ways to offer Halloween fun during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drive-thru candy delivery will be available at eight local churches, including Faith United Methodist Church in Superior, from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 31. Candy will be passed out with gloves on, people will wear masks and the candy will have been quarantined for two weeks before it is handed out.
Many of the churches plan to decorate for the occasion, including a Hogwarts-themed setting at Pilgrim Church, 2310 E. Fourth St., Duluth. The Superior-Douglas County YMCA plans to offer a drive-thru option at noon in the parking lot.
For an even more hands-off treat without the candy, people can drive by the 21 houses that were entered in the Superior Spooktacular’s inaugural “Haunt Your House” decorating contest. A full listing can be found on the Superior Spooktacular Facebook page.
The Douglas County Health Department on Oct. 19 released guidelines on how to trick-or-treat safely during COVID-19.
They include staying home if you’re sick, trick-or-treating with people you live with, maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from people not in your household, wearing a face mask, giving treats outdoors if possible, having hand sanitizer available and avoiding face-to-face interaction with high risk groups.
“While we don’t recommend crowded gatherings and things like that, we feel there are ways to do things that," said Douglas County Public Health Officer Kathy Ronchi. "What I am trying to encourage parents to do is to be mindful of decisions that they make on Halloween, for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for everything else that happens in between."
School has been a stable place for kids to go to, and area districts have been diligent about safety protocol, she said. Last week, for example, seven students and four staff in Douglas County had confirmed COVID-19 cases, but the cases came from six different districts.
"If we want kids going to school, we need to make our activities as low-risk as possible," Ronchi said.
That may mean trick-or-treating looks different this year — staying in a family group, limiting the number of houses to visit, taking time walking house to house, doing things at home.
"Keep your circle small as far as interacting with people outside your household," Ronchi said.