By Sydney Hudson
COVID-19 may feel like the most frightening aspect of Halloween this year, but there are still ways to celebrate this spooky holiday season.
Before this list is started, there is some information the Kent County Health Department wants you to know regarding safety guidelines for Halloween. The KCHD recommends face coverings in any public settings while also practicing social distancing. They also recommend frequent hand washing, staying away from large crowds, and staying home if you do not feel well.
“KCHD would like to remind your readers that in the past week the numbers of COVID-19 cases is on the rise in Kent County,” said Steve Kelso, the Communications Manager at the KCHD.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff.
Visiting a pumpkin patch is a great outdoor activity to take part in during the fall season. Because they’re outdoors, they allow for social distancing. There are many events going on at pumpkin patches and apple orchards, like hayrides and corn mazes. Here are a few that are closest to Grand Rapids.
Ed Dunneback and Girls Farm Market – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Post Family Farm Hudsonville, Michigan
Crane Orchards – Fennville, Michigan
Many of these farms and businesses have adapted to the virus and have put necessary rules in place in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.
“We had to wear masks when on the tractor ride,” said Aubrie Chambers, an 18-year-old Grand Rapids Community College student. “And when we went to get donuts and cider we had to wait six feet apart and they only let one group in at a time.”
Pumpkin patches and apple orchards are perfect for people of all ages and are great for those who want a laid back trip to take with their friends or family.
Carve or Paint Pumpkins
Carving pumpkins is an activity that many people do during the Halloween season. Carving or painting pumpkins with your family or two to three friends is a great way to abide by COVID-19 safety guidelines while still having fun.
“I plan on carving pumpkins with my family and watching ‘A Haunted House’,” said Ely Horling, a 20-year-old GRCC student.
If there is a larger group wanting to carve or paint pumpkins together, it would be best to go outside and space out with a maximum of 10 participants. This is a great activity for people who like to be creative or simply for those who enjoy Halloween traditions.
Baking Spooky Treats
Baking is also an option that is safe in terms of the virus. Keeping along with the pumpkin theme, when you’re done carving pumpkins, roast the seeds. Many people enjoy this snack in different ways, some include baking them with salt or garlic powder. Baking sugar cookies is another fun way to celebrate the holiday. Use cookie cutters in your favorite Halloween shapes, and finish them off by decorating them with icing and sprinkles.
Watching some festive movies is one of the best ways to follow COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
“I plan on dressing up with some close friends and probably watching some scary movies at my apartment,” said Clayton VanOveren, an 18-year-old Grand Valley State University student.
Halloween movies come in all kinds of genres and are an entertaining way to celebrate the holiday. There are cartoons or live action movies that range from comedy to horror. Get your family together or sit down with a couple of friends and enjoy a film of your choice. You can find Halloween or horror movies almost anywhere, however, Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party), Disney+, and Hulu are the most popular streaming sites. Teleparty is a streaming platform that lets you watch movies with friends without physically being together.
Many Halloween attractions have made the necessary accommodations for the pandemic, making them an option to choose from to celebrate the holiday as well. Here’s a list of haunted attractions closest to the Grand Rapids area.
The Haunt – Grand Rapids, Michigan
New Salem Corn Maze – Dorr, Michigan
Abandoned Acres Farm Haunted Attraction – Sparta, Michigan
Grab some of your bravest friends or family members and have fun at the haunted attraction of your choice.
Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services also has some guidelines for those planning on trick-or-treating or hosting parties. They recommend hosting a virtual party if possible. If that’s not possible, they recommend no more than 10 people in a gathering.
For those planning on trick-or-treating, they recommend going with people you live with, wearing a mask, and only going to houses with safety measures in place. For the longer list of tips for trick-or-treaters and tips for homeowners, visit this website.
Be sure to follow the guidelines mentioned above and watch this video for more information on the rising number of cases in Kent County and the importance of wearing face coverings.