Safety first, treats second
In a year when reality is arguably spookier than fiction for many, several folks in Sandy, Gresham and Estacada are finding creative ways to still have Halloween fun while staying safe.
In Sandy, that fun has taken the shape of families handing out candy with gloved or no contact, grandparents orchestrating Easter-esque candy hunts for their grandchildren, a drive-thru style Trick or Treat Trail by the business community and more.
Monica Butler has a very family-centric trick for delivering treats to her grandchildren this year. In lieu of the traditional family dinner and trick or treating, Butler plans to utilize the acres of space at her work — Oral Hull Park — and create a candy scavenger hunt for the children in her family.
"Normally we all have dinner together then go out trick or treating together," Butler said. "We walk until we drop. We're big trick or treaters."
Butler has two grandsons, ages 5 and 9 — along with two great nieces, ages 4 and 10 — who will benefit from this event. Typically, the entire family — grandparents and parents included — dress up with the same theme, and this year, even though they won't be going out, Butler plans to continue that tradition.
"This year's theme appears to be anything Nintendo," Butler explained, saying the grandsons just received Mario Brothers costumes recently. "This year, it would be easy to say since we're not going out we just won't wear costumes, but I think it would be more fun for the kids if we all dressed up."
So far, Butler added, the kids don't seem too disappointed about not trick or treating this year.
"I think mom and dad have kept it really positive," she said. "They're still really excited about dressing up."
Also trying to keep things positive are Keith and Tina Tanner. For 15 years, the Sandy couple has gone all out to decorate their home in the Van Fleet and Gary Street area for trick or treaters. This year, they've still decorated and will give out their usual full-sized candy bars on Halloween night, just with a few layers of precaution.
"There are a lot of negative things happening in the world right now, so we like to do something for the community to get a smile or a laugh," said Keith Tanner. "We've been paying close attention to the COVID situation. I work in healthcare and my wife works in education. In the past we've had as much as 30 kids at our doorstep at one time, so we were hoping this year to find a way around that. We'll be using a PVC pipe from our front window to slide candy to the kids and posting signage at 6-foot intervals to inform people about precautions."
The Tanners will also be wearing masks, gloves and costumes while they dispense candy.
Keith added that he and his wife have felt fortunate to provide this service for the community over the years, even after their children grew up and left home.
"We feel lucky to have a few of those kids come back now as adults with their own kids," Tanner said. "The holidays have always been very special to us. We invite everyone to come and we hope they enjoy it. We try to make this very family friendly."
Looking forward to a family friendly Halloween, regardless of the changes to local celebrations, is the Arthurs family of Sandy. Traditionally, the family of five walks the Trick or Treat Trail hosted by the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses, and they planned to attend the Chamber's drive-thru alternative to the event this year on Oct. 24.
"I was excited (to hear they were doing this)," Danielle Arthurs said. "The kids love doing that every year. I was really impressed with the Sandy Chamber and their ability to come up with a safe alternative."
Besides attending the Chamber's event, the Arthurs took a trip to Bushue's Family Farm to pick out pumpkins, delivered goodie bags to family members and they will gather with close family on Halloween night for a small party for the kids.
"We're not going trick or treating because of the risk," Danielle said, adding that even though the kids can't go out like normal, they don't seem super disappointed. "They're actually really excited to go have a fun little Halloween party with their cousins."
Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Khrys Jones said the Arthurs weren't the only family excited for the Trick or Treat Trail. The Chamber took reservations for the event and by midweek before Oct. 24, the event was at capacity. About 300 carloads/families attended, with 100 vehicles allowed to parade through every hour between 4-7 p.m. on Saturday. Besides distributing candy, the chamber held a vehicle decoration contest for families, which saw great participation.
"I think it went pretty smoothly for the first year of doing it this way," Jones said. "Everybody seemed to be in good spirits. We had a great turnout from the businesses, (including) new businesses who hadn't participated when we did it in the downtown core, so maybe next year they'll join us down there or whenever we can do it that way again."
Goblins, Ghosts, Gresham
While it will look differently this year, there are still plenty of fun — and safe — Halloween activities for families to participate in this year across the city of Gresham.
The Historic Downtown Gresham Business Association is not hosting the annual Trick-or-Treat event on Main Avenue, which always brought in hundreds of costumed kiddos and excited business owners with buckets of sweets.
Instead, several downtown businesses are offering spooky deals and tactful treats. The offerings include:
A few blocks away Gresham Station, at the corner of Northwest Division and Eastman Parkway, has also pivoted how its annual Halloween shindig will operate.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, there will be socially distanced trick or treat stations with pre-bagged candy; giant pumpkins being worked by master carvers; hot cocoa and cider; and princesses and super heroes wandering the area saying hello. All visitors must wear masks while at Gresham Station.
There will also be the first-ever Virtual Costume Contest. Participants can register online and submit the best photo of themselves in their Halloween costume by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. The following day community members will vote on their favorites, with winners receiving $100 gift cards redeemable at Gresham Station stores.
The categories for entry are funniest costume, scariest costume, most original costume and cutest costume.
Register for the costume contest at greshamstation.com/2020/10/16/costume-contest.
Estacada finds tricks to safely share treats
In Estacada, community members are using social media to share plans for the spooky holiday.
Brandi Stickney created the Estacada Trick or Treats Facebook group as a way for community members who are distributing goodies to find one another.
"I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a post asking about trick or treating. I thought, 'We should make a group to put it out there,'" she said. "I didn't think that many people would sign up, but within five minutes of me sending out the link, I was busy all day approving requests to join."
Typically, the Estacada Chamber of Commerce hosts the Creepy Crawl, during which children can trick or treat at downtown businesses, but the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many community members have determined ways to distribute items while facilitating social distancing. Some houses will offer pre-wrapped bags of candy, and others will connect trick-or-treaters with goodies via candy chutes.
"I'm putting out a bowl for kids to pick up candy and going off the honor system," Stickney said. "Other people have come up with different and unique ways of handing out candy to make it fun."
Participating houses includes ones on Liberty Lane, Main Street, Broadway Street, Campanella Way, Northeast Hill Way, Overlook Court, Northwest Rockwell Drive, Northeast Regan Hill Loop, Olive Way, Southeast Oak View, Elm Street, Forest Road, Currin Street, Tailor Street, Lakeshore Drive, Liberty Way, Gardiner Drive and Northeast Edgehill Drive.
There will be a photobooth on Liberty Lane, and Expozed Ink, 333 Broadway St., and Figaro's Pizza, 411 Broadway St., will distribute goodies.
Because of the difficulties resulting from COVID-19, the Clackamas County wildfires and other events this year, Stickney thinks a day of fun will be valuable for the Estacada community.
"I really want to see smiles rather than people looking haggard and worn out," she said. "People with opposing views can laugh and have fun together."
Safe Halloween in the age of COVID-19
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control has provided guidelines to ensure that everyone stays safe while participating in spooky fun and socially distanced activities.
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