League of California Cities

California cities create clever and safe Halloween activities for residents

Although Halloween was celebrated differently this year, cities around the state worked hard to provide fun and creative activities and contests to help residents safely enjoy the holiday. From drive-thru trick-or-treating, to scarecrow contests, parades, and scavenger hunts — there was no shortage of safe Halloween festivities.

Several cities, including Pacific Grove, Redwood City, Ontario, and Chino Hills gathered staff and volunteers to hand out candy and goodie bags to families at “Drive-Thru Trick-Or-Treat” or “Trunk-or-Treat” events. 
Pacific-Grove-Drive-Thru-Trick-or-Treating-(1).pngPacific Grove residents were encouraged to wear costumes and decorate their vehicles to get into the Halloween spirit. As they drove by, they enjoyed the eerie sight of spooky costumes and festive booths put together by city staff and other local agencies. 

"I'm so proud of our recreation department, which increasingly has found creative outlets for engaging the community during these difficult times,” said Pacific Grove City Manager Ben Harvey. “I'm also thrilled with the level of participation from our other city departments, who joined in on the fun, adding to the experience for the community. Kudos to Team Pacific Grove!" 

In Burlingame, residents spread out along city sidewalks for their first-ever “Drive-By Halloween Parade.” City staff and community members in costumes drove by in extravagantly decorated vehicles full of ghosts, skeletons, witches, and much more. (See a video clip from the parade on their Twitter post here.) 

“I'm proud of our city team for creating an opportunity to spread some fun and joy this Halloween, without spreading the virus. Our community loved it,” said Burlingame Mayor Emily Beach. “One resident wrote me and said, ‘The drive-by parade was totally awesome. Brought a tear to my eye, so happy to see Burlingame celebrating.’ I think that says it all.”

IMG_1237.JPGIn Paramount and Buena Park, visitors driving through the neighborhoods may have spotted some haunted houses decorated by residents participating in the “Halloween Home Decorating Contest” put on by city staff. Houses were judged on factors such as creativity, overall quality, and appearance. The contest winners received recognition on the cities’ websites and social media channels, and received prizes such as gift cards.

IMG_1198.JPG“Paramount is known for our amazing holiday events, which kick off with Halloween. For obvious reasons, it was time to get creative this year when it came to presentation,” said Paramount Mayor Peggy Lemons. “To replace our carnival, we produced a drive-through Fright Fest, then we added a number of virtual items in the week leading up to Halloween. We had a scavenger hunt in our parks, a costume contest with submissions through social media, and a home decorating contest which was a big hit. A lot of residents said that driving past all the homes gave them something very cool to do in place of their traditional outings.” 
IMG_1394.JPGAcross the state, California cities showed their commitment to creating safe spaces for residents to celebrate Halloween. Their innovative and unique events and activities created many memorable moments for community members and may have laid the groundwork for future Halloween traditions. 
IMG_1411-(1).JPGThis story was featured in the Cal Cities Advocate newsletter on Nov. 4, 2020
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