By Alyssa Schnugg
The COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the scariest part of 2020; however, one group it cannot seem to scare away this Halloween are the eager trick-or-treaters ready to go on the hunt for candy.
While several annual events, like the Oxford Police Department’s annual haunted house, have been canceled, many have simply been tweaked to meet state mandates for social distancing from the Mississippi State Department of Health and the CDC to create a safe, coronavirus-free holiday.
The Oxford Board of Aldermen did not cancel trick-or-treating, leaving the decision up to residents and parents of whether or not to hand out candy at their homes or go door-to-door.
The city of Oxford has posted recommended measures for people handing out candy and for the parents of trick-or-treaters. They include wearing a mask under costume masks, using hand sanitizer, maintaining social distancing and handing children candy rather than letting them reach into the same bucket.
The complete list of suggested guidelines can be viewed online here.
Some parents are choosing not to allow children to go house-to-house and several Oxford organizations, churches and businesses have organized Halloween events for little ones that involve drive-thru trick-or-treating or other socially-distanced setups like trunk-or-treating.
The Oxford Park Commission has chosen not to do its annual Halloween Egg Hunt this year and opt for a safer alternative. OPC, along with members of the OPD, will be at the Oxford Activity Center starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28 for the first Drive-In Halloween Spooktacular.
“We will be providing Halloween theme bags filled with candy and novelty items to hand out to the kids, that include items such as fake vampire teeth, small rings that light up, spider rings and witch fingers,” said OPC Communications Director John Davis.
Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi has run the annual Halloween SafeStop on the downtown Oxford Square for several years, where children walk around and collect candy from local businesses and organizations.
However, this year Family Crisis Services opted for a SafeStop “Drive-Boo” event from noon to 2 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31. The event this year will take place at the Lafayette County Arena off F.D. Buddy East Parkway, behind the Lafayette County Business Complex.
At both events, everyone will remain in their cars as drive-thru volunteers wearing costumes will hand out candy and other treats.
What better place to celebrate Halloween than at a funeral home?
Coleman Funeral Home is holding its annual Trunk or Treat event from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29 at the Funeral Home located at Highway 7 South, approximately 3 miles from Highway 6 West.
There is no cost to attend. All attendees are expected to follow local/state social distancing guidelines and wear masks during the event.
“Coleman Funeral Home is going to offer kids and parents a safe environment to enjoy something normal during a year that’s anything but,” said Kathy Brummett, family care coordinator with Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford. “We are welcoming businesses who would like to decorate their trunks and be able to interact with the community.”
The event is open to all children age 12 and under. Trick-or-treaters are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes for the event, but costumes are not required.
Other Halloween events this week:
- Now through Oct. 31: Hocus Pocus Halloween Hunt by Visit Oxford. Pick up a clue card from Visit Oxford or print one from the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford Facebook page. There are 12 Halloween “friends” hiding in different spots around town. Grab a prize from each and mark them off the card. Write your name and contact info on the card and drop it off at Visit Oxford to be entered into a drawing for a special prize on Nov. 2.
- Oct. 24: Halloween Event at 6 p.m. at the Harmontown Civic Center. Costume contest, hayrides, candy basket walk and more.
- Oct. 25: Community Church of Oxford will hold its fifth annual Fall Festival at 5 p.m. at the Lafayette County Multipurpose Arena. Bring a basket or bag for Trunk-or-Treating.
- Oct. 25: Drive-thru Trunk-or-Treat from 4 to 6 p.m. at the FBC Oxford parking lot for candy, games and door prizes
- Oct. 25-31: Spooky Sculpture Trail at Powerhouse Sculpture Garden from 6 to 8 p.m., sponsored by YAC
- Oct. 27: Ghoulow Walk at South Campus Rail Trail from 6-7 p.m.
- Oct. 27: Pumpkin Carving Demonstration at the Powerhouse Sculpture Garden from 6 to 8 p.m.
- Oct. 30: A Hallowed Hopewell from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Camp Hopewell at 24 CR 231. Trick-or-treating through the camp, photo booth, hot chocolate stand and smores.
- Oct. 31 Trunk or Treat at North Oxford Baptist Church from 4 to 6 p.m.