'Mask up, have fun': Bay Area celebrates return of Halloween after 2 year pause

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Sunday, October 31, 2021
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High vaccination rates and fewer COVID restrictions are allowing kids and their parents enjoy the spooky weekend.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Halloween around the Bay Area is shaping up to be a lot more scarier than last year, in a good way! High vaccination rates and fewer COVID restrictions are allowing kids and their parents enjoy the spooky weekend.

Halloween 2021 is something to cheer about, the stuff superheroes would be proud of.

We found Spider-Man, aka Max Kong patrolling San Francisco's Chinatown, his dad says it's good to celebrate again.

RELATED: 'Castro knows how to party': Halloween festivities return to iconic SF district this weekend

"This is one of the first Halloweens he's been able to get out because here's four, nice to see people out celebrating Halloween," he said.

All the frights are back at Chinatown's Halloween Neighborhood Festival. The annual event returned this year, after been scaled down in 2020.

There were costume contests and lots of games.

"We're asking people to keep masks on, those who participate in painting inside have to show proof of vaccination," said Sarah Wan from Chinatown Community Youth Center.

In Oakland, kids were trick-or-treating at businesses in the Laurel neighborhood.

"My name is Carly, I'm batgirl for Halloween," said Carly Burnett.

Kids go trick-or-treating in San Francisco's Chinatown

Carly's sister Sarah says Halloween got cancelled last year but the pandemic isn't over.

"I feel like people still need to be safe, need to wear a mask and socially distance and have fun," said Sarah Burnett.

Denise McDarment was hopeful about vaccines recently being approved for kids ages 5-11.

"I don't think a lot of people will hand out candy this year but with vaccine coming out, by Christmas we can go back to birthday parties," McDarment said.

RELATED: Is it OK to go trick-or-treating during COVID-19 pandemic?

In Berkeley, Halloween was back. A spooky carnival at grove park and would you believe, a roller skate boogie? Tiera Wilson was loving all of it.

"I bought my one year old and my six year old, enjoying the atmosphere and the community coming together as a village," said Wilson.

Halloween in the Castro is also back--at least that is the hope for a San Francisco neighborhood that was mighty quiet last year, thanks to the pandemic. This year, businesses are actively campaigning for the party atmosphere of year's past, starting with a colorful block party called Glow in the Street.

"We're incredibly grateful that we can do this, this Halloween. That we can create a gathering for people who've been so starved for it," said event organizer Larissa Archer.

The Castro was once the epicenter of Halloween celebrations in San Francisco, drawing as many as a half-million people on a single night, that is until violence erupted in 2006, which pretty much shut down the party. And then came the pandemic.

There was also visible police presence and plenty of private security at the block party Saturday night.

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