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

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- We are now just eight days away from Halloween. Because of COVID-19, many Bay Area trick-or-treating traditions are taking a backseat this year.

In the South Bay, while some are canceling candy collecting altogether, others are finding creative ways around it.

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

ABC7 News searched through previous Halloween coverage and found an endless number of kids, crowds and costumes - fun from years past.

Shops in Downtown Willow Glen in San Jose were seen serving ghouls and goblins by the hundreds.

However, this Halloween there's a very clear message through that part of the city, the treasured tradition of trick-or-treating through the downtown area is canceled.

"Unfortunately, we will not be able to have the trick-or-treat event on Lincoln Avenue this year," Councilmember Dev Davis told ABC7 News.

Many in the area are getting behind a joint statement by Bay Area health officers, calling trick-or-treating a high-risk activity. Still, most maintain the impacts don't have to be more trick than treat.

"The nice thing about the Public Health officers was they, in their guidance about Halloween, were able to give us some alternate activity ideas," Davis continued.

RELATED: CA releases guidance for celebrating Halloween during pandemic

Regarding "lower risk" activities, Public Health officers suggested residents consider keeping it small and staying home.

LOWER RISK: Stay home, keep it small

  • Celebrating Halloween traditions like carving pumpkins or a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in your home.
  • Visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch, while wearing a mask and maintaining distance from others.
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at least 6 feet apart while wearing masks, with a very small group of neighbors or friends. Fewer people with more distance is safer.
  • Having a virtual costume contest.
  • Dressing up your house, apartment, living space, yard or car with Halloween decoration or decorating homes with images and objects to honor deceased loved ones.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes with members of your household.
  • Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed.
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased.
  • Participating in vehicle-based gatherings that comply with state and local guidance like drive-in movies and drive-through attractions, or car/bike parades where participants do not leave their vehicles.
  • Avoid driving in areas where there are many pedestrians.
  • Spectators should watch from their homes or yards and not gather with people they do not live with.


Closer to Downtown San Jose, residents are working on a "bright" idea. Currently, about 400 holiday hoops of light signal one way the Northside neighborhood plans to celebrate. An additional 470 hoops are expected to go up over this next weekend.

"I just started posting on our neighborhood group about the hoops of light, and it kind of went a little berserk," resident Shelly Glennon told ABC7 News.

Glennon rallied almost 300 of her neighbors to either purchase or donate the hoops, leaving kids with what she hopes is a lasting memory of this "less than normal" Halloween.

RELATED: Vallejo's Six Flags debuts Halloween festivities with COVID-19 safety protocols in place

"I know that we worry about the kids a lot," Glennon told ABC7 News. "But the truth is, kids are really resilient. And they really follow our lead."

While some in the neighborhood plan to trick-or-treat, others like Glennon are finding other ways to keep the celebration going and push through, despite the pandemic.

"When they're adults, they'll tell their kids stories about that Halloween when we didn't get candy. But you know what? There were these magical arches of light everywhere, and there were houses decorated," she shared. "And we all came out onto the street and we all talked to each other and laughed."

Glennon continued, "That's what I'd love to see."

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