CARTERET COUNTY — As Carteret County’s towns gear up for Halloween activities, County Health Department Director Stephanie Cannon urges safety precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to emphasize, as people are planning their fun activities, keep safety in mind and choose activities that minimize the opportunity for COVID transmission,” Ms. Cannon said Tuesday.
“In light of COVID-19, the Health Department is encouraging the public to choose lower-risk Halloween activities this year,” she continued. “As a community, we can slow the spread of this virus by practicing the 3Ws (wear a mask, wait 6 feet from others, and wash our hands) and staying home when sick.”
Alternate ideas for fun and safe Halloween events are encouraged, such as trick-or-treating among a small group of families that have a contactless candy delivery method as all participants wear face coverings.
Here some of the ways towns are celebrating:
The Morehead City Parks and Recreation Department will host its second annual “Trunk or Treat” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday on the 1600 block of Fisher Street. Families are invited to come trick or treat out of the decorated trunks of parked cars, with awards being given to best costume and best-decorated trunk.
As safety precautions, Morehead City will spread vehicles 6 feet apart. Volunteers will give out candy with an ice scoop, a prepackaged baggie or while wearing a glove. Hand sanitizing stations will be available and face coverings are encouraged.
Newport’s annual Halloween Hootenanny will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The majority of the venues will be at Newport Little League Ball Field and Newport Town Bark, both on Howard Boulevard.
While previously confined to just the ball field, this year the event is spreading out in order to allow for social distancing. Organizers have also trimmed the number of activities, but are still holding the Hootenanny costume contest and dance.
Newport Rotary Club member Rick Smith said for safety, all candy will be pre-bagged and hand sanitizing stations will be available.
In addition, Mr. Smith said organizers are advising caution among their volunteers who are older or considered at higher risk.
Atlantic Beach town staff is selling tickets for $10 per vehicle for a Halloween Candy Cruise, scheduled for 6 to 7 p.m. Friday. The event will feature drive-thru trick-or-treating at The Circle.
Atlantic Beach Recreation, Communication and Special Event Director Morgan Gilbert said they currently have 13 volunteer candy vendors, plus vehicles from town departments.
“We’re still encouraging local businesses to register as candy vendors,” she said. “They can easily register online.”
Pine Knoll Shores
In Pine Knoll Shores, town staff is preparing for the 16th annual Pine Knoll Shores Halloween Party. The party is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Brock Basin on Oakleaf Drive.
This year’s party will not feature a potluck, and children won’t be trick-or-treating. Instead, candy stations will be provided on a route from Brock Basin, up Mimosa Boulevard and around Loblolly Drive.
A socially distanced “Trucks and Treats” will be held 10 a.m. until noon Saturday in Emerald Isle at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access off Highway 58. Preregistration is required, as the event is open to only the first 300 children, ages 12 and under. To register, parents are asked to contact the parks and recreation department at 252-354-6350.
Vehicles from town police, fire, emergency medical services and beach safety departments will be on display.
Each registered child who attends the drive-thru event will receive a bag stuffed with sweets. Some will have a “golden ticket” for prizes that include Beats headphones, an Amazon Fire tablet, a drone and gift certificates to local businesses.
To avoid potential super-spreader occurrences, Beaufort is asking neighborhoods and families to leave their porch lights off and not participate in trick-or-treating, and officials are reminding the public no more than 50 people can gather at an outdoor event under the state’s most recent executive order.
Cedar Point officials encourage those who participate in activites to take strong precautions. Those who choose to trick or treat should do so from 6 and 9 p.m. Saturday.
Town Administrator David Rief encouraged town residents not to host Halloween parties, and to wear face coverings and follow state and federal social-distancing guidelines.
For those who do want to offer treats to children, he suggested putting a table or chair outside to enable the children to pick up the goodies without contact. Those who want to offer those treats to children, he said, might consider waving through a storm door or window.
Those who participate in handing out Halloween treats, he said, should sanitize tables or chairs and bowls they set up outside before bringing them back inside and sanitize doorknobs and doorbells.
Finally, Mr. Rief urged anyone who has been sick, or who has been in contact with people who are sick or running a fever, “to please stay home no matter how much you want to, and/or you children beg.”
Trick-or-treating hours in Cape Carteret are 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The town strongly encourages those who choose to participate in festivities to wear a mask, follow safety guidelines and socially distance. Residents who do not wish to participate are advised to turn off their front porch lights while trick-or-treating is occurring.
Full details on guidance for upcoming holidays, including a list of low-risk Halloween activities, can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life- coping/holidays.html#:~:text=If%20you%20may%20have%20COVID,to%20trick-or-treaters.