City leaders in Camas and Washougal are urging safety over tradition this Halloween in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are all sad that Boo Bash and other large-scale Halloween events aren’t happening this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any Halloween fun,” the city of Camas stated recently on its website.
Instead of trick-or-treating and attending Halloween parties, city leaders want their residents to follow the Washington State Department of Health guidelines this Halloween season.
“Many of the traditional ways in which we celebrate Halloween involve contact with non-household members in large group settings. This year, it is important to plan early and identify safer alternatives to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19,” states the city of Washougal’s website.
The state Department of Health recommends alternative activities that don’t involve gatherings with people outside your household, including home-based scavenger hunts; online costume or pumpkin carving contests, and Halloween movie marathons with household members.
If people do plan to go trick-or-treating, the state recommends staying with household members and maintaining at least 6 feet between groups of non-household members; wearing a cloth face covering; washington hands before and after trick-or-treating; and bringing hand sanitizer to use while trick-or-treating.
For anyone hoping to give out candy or treats to trick-or-treaters this year, the Department of Health recommends limiting treats to candy in individually wrapped treat bags; placing treats on a table in a driveway or yard to avoid crowds; sitting in a chair at least 6 feet of distance from the treat table; and placing a few mini-pumpkins or other decorations 6 feet apart to signal a line and keep trick-or-treaters distanced while they wait for treats.
The state’s Department of Health is discouraging activities that violate the gathering limitations outlined in Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Plan. Clark County is currently in Phase 2 of the plan, which prohibits gathering with more than five members outside a household each week.
The Department of Health also discourages traditional trick-or-treating, with children going up to individual doors to knock and be handed candy or gather treats from a bowl; “trunk-or-treat” gatherings with multiple households that facilitate crowding around treats and violate the gathering limitations outlined in the Safe Start plan; and indoor trick-or-treating activities, such as those organized in malls and other large venues.
“Halloween may feel a little different this year, but with a little care and creativity, we can all celebrate the holiday safely,” Alan Melnick, Clark County’s public health director, said.
Pumpkin patches remain open
While most of the local annual Halloween events, such as the Downtown Camas Association’s Boo Bash, have been cancelled this year, several area pumpkin-patch farms are open to the public. The farms listed below require visitors to wear cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from non-household members:
o Waltons Farms, 1617 N.E. 267th Ave., Camas: Open from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free for ages 2 and younger, $10 for ages 55 and older and $12 for ages 3 to 54. Cost includes one free pumpkin for children ages 3 and older. For more information, visit waltonsfarms.com or “WaltonsFarms” on Facebook, call 360-834-2810 or email email@example.com.
o Bi-Zi Farms, 9504 N.E. 119th St., Vancouver: Open from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in October. Admission costs $10 for ages 64 and younger, $8 for ages 65 and older and is free for ages 2 and younger. For more information, visit bi-zifarms.com/pumpin-patch or “Bi-Zi Farms” on Facebook or call 360-574-9119.
o Joe’s Place Farm, 701 N.E. 112th St., Vancouver: Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, visit joesplacefarm.com or “Joe’s Place Farm” on Facebook or call 360-892-3974.
o The Vancouver Pumpkin Patch, at Velvet Acres Gardens, 18905 N.E. 83rd St., Vancouver: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday in October. Admission costs $3. For more information, visit vancouverpumpkinpatch.com or call 360-892-0434.