COVID-19 + Halloween: How Tualatin Responds

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It’s that time of year again. When the leaves begin to change color, pumpkins come fresh off the patch and Halloween is right around the corner. So bust out those festive costumes and prepare to go door-to-door expecting sugary goodness, right? Well, not quite.

This year, to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are urging the public to avoid traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, “Trunk or Treating” and other possibly crowded Halloween events.

“This year, it’s more important than ever to put safety first because COVID-19 cases have risen recently and holiday gatherings on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day led to increased case counts,” OHA wrote in an Oct. 1 statement.

So, maybe costume parties and haunted houses won’t be a possibility this year. But there are still other possible alternatives that will allow you to enjoy the holiday.

Low Risk:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside with members of your household, or at a safe distance with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your living space
  • Halloween scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search around your home
  • Halloween movie night with members of your household

Moderate Risk:

  • One-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are laid outside
  • Outdoor costume party, where distancing can be maintained and cloth masks worn
  • Going to an open-air, one-way walk-through haunted forest
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards while maintaining distance

Many Tualatin community members have ideas of their own.

“We’re skipping [trick-or-treating], in part, because we feel many houses may not be handing out candy and that would be tough for kids,” one commenter on the Tualatin Life Facebook page wrote. “We’ll dress up, hide candy in the house or outside depending on weather, hand the kids flashlights and let them have a scavenger hunt.”

Another Facebook page commenter decided to flip the tradition on its head. “Reverse trick-or-treating. [We’re] making goodie bags for the kids to drop off on porches in costumes especially to our senior friends!”

Lee Farms, a popular Tualatin berry farm and pumpkin patch, has remained open for guests, but with some modifications.

They have asked guests to pre-order tickets online at their website to reduce lines and manage capacity. In addition, the farm requires masks when distance cannot be maintained, and on all activities such as the hayrides, U-pick Corn Field, play areas and animal viewing pens.

General admission is 10 dollars and provides access to many of the activities as well as the pumpkin patch filled with over two dozen pumpkin varieties. You can learn more at www.leefarmsoregon.com.

In a typical year, the Tualatin area holds several Halloween-themed events such as the nationally renowned West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Tualatin or Pumpkins and Pints.

This Halloween, however, the Pumpkin Regatta, which normally hosts giant pumpkin races, food vendors, a 5K run and pumpkin-themed games, has been cancelled, but will be back next year.

You may not be able to paddle in a giant pumpkin through the Tualatin Commons this year, but, the Terminator Weigh-Off, the giant vegetable-weighing contest, is still proceeding as planned for contestants.

The organizer, Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers, said that competitors with the largest pumpkins and other huge vegetables will weigh-off for a chance to win from a $3,500 prize pool. The format will be a drive-through and pre-registration is required at www.pgvg.org.