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Top Five Ways For Communities to Celebrate Halloween Safely This Year

October 2, 2020
Top Five Ways For Communities to Celebrate Halloween Safely This Year


Trick-or-treating, costume parades, pumpkin carving contests. These are all wonderful examples of Halloween traditions. 

After serving 30 years as a city manager, Matt Fulton, Polco’s Vice President of National Engagement has seen how these traditions can bring people together for the good of the whole community. “Holiday celebrations, like Halloween, are important because they strengthen the community and connect neighbors,” said Fulton.  

But how can local governments keep the spirit of Halloween this year, while keeping everyone safe? So we turned to the experts for safer holiday alternatives. The Center for Disease Control (The CDC) and Polco’s Michelle Kobayashi and Matt Fulton share ideas for safer holiday alternatives.  

Outdoor Halloween Scavenger Hunt

One recommendation from the Center for Disease Control (The CDC) for safely celebrating Halloween is to host an outdoor Halloween Scavenger Hunt for your community’s little ghosts and ghouls. Give families lists of Halloween-themed things to look for outside. Ideas include spiders, pumpkins, cats, the moon, headstones and more. Local governments can post scavenger hunt lists as printable PDFs on the website and social media pages to make it easier for families to play along!

Home Decorating Contest


Encourage residents to out-boo each other by hosting a Halloween-themed Home Decorating Contest. Categories for winners might include Scariest, Judge’s Favorites, Best Effects, or Best Overall Theme. Neighbors can then walk or drive by each others’ homes to see the boo-tiful displays. Decorating City Hall can also be a great way to bring city governments into the community fun!

Virtual Halloween Costume Contest


Another recommendation from The CDC is to host a virtual costume contest. Use social media to promote the contest. Consider awarding prizes according to themes, such as People’s Choice, Scariest, Funniest, and Most Original.

Host a Safer Trick-or-Treating Option


If you still plan to host trick-or-treating in your community, the CDC provides guidance for a safer option. Trick-or-treating should be one-way and outdoors. Goodie bags should be wrapped individually for families to grab and go. Everyone should wear masks.

“One of the emerging approaches to Halloween celebrations is bringing businesses and community organizations together in a City Park or other restricted area where they hand out candy to children in a safe and convenient way,” said Fulton. “It eliminates the need for kids to walk inside and across streets. It also provides very positive exposure for the participating businesses and organizations.”  

Crowdsource Ideas from Residents

During this challenging time of COVID and other community stresses, it is important to get resident sentiment about how to celebrate the holiday in a safe way,” said Fulton.

So Polco is providing a short, four-question COVID-19 Halloween Survey for local governments to gather feedback on what to do about the holiday this year. The survey also asks households how they are planning to participate in Halloween this year, if at all. This helps leaders make more informed decisions about Halloween in their community. The survey even asks residents for their favorite Halloween song. This gives leaders an opportunity to share some fun back out to the community via social media.

“Polco created the COVID-19 Halloween Survey to give local governments ideas from residents about how to keep the spirit of Halloween celebrations in place, while keeping everyone safe and healthy,” said Michelle Kobayashi, Senior Vice President of Innovation at Polco. Kobayashi has helped local governments maximize public opinion for over 25 years.

“The survey helps to crowdsource good ideas about alternative ways to celebrate Halloween,” said Kobayashi. 

You can conduct the COVID-19 Halloween Survey with your own residents for free. Learn more about posting Polco’s recommended content surveys.

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