East Bay gets creative, keeps Halloween alive with 'Dress Up Drive' despite pandemic

"Families will go to the website and view the map and then they can dress up in their costumes, dress up their cars and drive around town and see the decorated houses."
LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Bay Area cities are getting creative as officials try to plan fun Halloween activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lafayette has created a "Dress up Drive," a way for kids to get out in their costumes and visit decorated homes, safely.

"Families will go to the website and view the map and then they can dress up in their costumes, dress up their cars and drive around town and see the decorated houses," explained Jonathan Katayanagi, the Parks, Trails & Recreation Director.

RELATED: SJ neighborhood comes up with 'bright idea' for celebrating Halloween during pandemic

The idea is for people to stay in their car, while homeowners wave from their yards.

"We really wanted to give the community something to do, something to celebrate. This is a city wide celebration, so all the families can have that Halloween feeling and get to celebrate something this year," Katayanagi said.

Jonas Tichenor registered his home to be on the tour.

RELATED: Adorable California rescue dogs ready to trick-or-treat

"I think it's wonderful they are thinking about the kids and the families who love Halloween, who love to do what they do and are being forced to do something different. They are making it fun and I appreciate it," Tichenor said Friday morning in front of his Pirates of the Caribbean themed decorated yard.

Tichenor says his street is usually closed down to cars to accommodate all of the trick-or-treaters. Last year, he counted more than 1,000 visitors to his home.

"It's like a huge street party that everyone looks forward to every year," he said.

RELATED: CA releases guidance for celebrating Halloween during pandemic

The city of Lafayette wanted that spirit to live on somehow.

"It felt really good to be able to offer something for the community. It gave everyone something to do. There are a lot of families that didn't have an answer, they didn't know what to do," Katayanagi said.

He said about 40 homeowners have signed up to be stops on the tour. He has worked with other Parks and Rec Departments in Brentwood, Oakley and Walnut Creek to help them create their own events. He says the event was so easy and to plan and is already so popular, he imagines they will bring it back next year.
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.