- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2020

Local leaders aren’t recommending traditional trick-or-treating during the coronavirus pandemic, but they are touting safe ways to celebrate Halloween.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser this week encouraged residents to avoid “high risk” activities like handing out candy at front doors and “trunk-or-treating” so that kids can maintain social distance.

Instead, Miss Bowser said people can put individually packaged treat bags outside, or do one-way drive-through candy distributions.

The mayor also suggested “lower risk” activities like putting out festive decorations, hosting neighborhood drive-through display events, carving pumpkins with others via video chat or having an online costume party or contest.

“A costume mask does not substitute for a surgical mask or cloth face covering,” Miss Bowser said Tuesday in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan shared on social media federal health guidance that suggests avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters and washing hands before handling goodies.

And Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said those who plan to celebrate should also avoid crowds.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommends people do not trick or treat in big groups or outside their neighborhood, and avoid indoor haunted houses and large parties.

“Some people, especially those at higher risk for illness, may choose not to participate in Halloween festivities this year because events that involve large gatherings of individuals can increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” VDH district director Scott Spillman said in a press release.

People who want to stay home can tune into a free virtual celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian on Friday at 6:00 p.m. The event will be livestreamed on the museum’s Facebook and YouTube channels. It will include information on how to make paper marigolds and history about the Mexican holiday.

Cities around the D.C. region also are hosting socially distant Halloween events for those who want to venture out.

Witches, ghosts and goblins are invited to show off their costumes and take treats to go at a free event hosted by the city of Laurel, Maryland. The “Take-Away Treat Spooktacular” starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Robert J. DiPietro Community Center.

The Jack-O-Lantern Hike through the woods hosted by Maryland’s Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda ends with a campfire and treat Friday. People are encouraged to wear a costume, and the hikes start at 6:45 p.m. with a fee of $2 per person.

Lovers of ‘90s music can attend a free concert and costume party that begins at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Jammin Java in Vienna.

To explore the “haunted” town of Alexandria, people can sign up for a “Ghosts of Alexandria” tour hosted by Discover Alexandria on Friday and Saturday starting at 7 p.m. Children ages 6 and younger get in free, and tickets are $5 for older children, $10 for students, seniors, and military members, and $12.00 for adults.

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