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Halloween events return to Pine Bluff area amid pandemic

by Eplunus Colvin | October 26, 2021 at 3:54 a.m.
Halloween candy and decorations are displayed at a store, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Freeport, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Last year, for many, Halloween was canceled, haunted houses were shut down and porch lights were turned off due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in response to covid-19.

This year, however, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC is encouraging some normalcy as more individuals are vaccinated.

Last month, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that trick-or-treating would be more normal in 2021, especially for those who feel comfortable spending time outdoors amid the pandemic.

"I wouldn't necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups," Walensky said. "I hope that we can do that this year."

From the looks of it, Halloween in Jefferson County, which falls on Sunday this year, will be celebrated as several events are planned for the week.

The Pine Bluff Police Department has partnered with Southeast Arkansas College for its annual Fall Festival.

Originally planning to continue their scavenger hunt due to rising covid-19 numbers and manpower, Pine Bluff police Deputy Chief Shirley Warrior said SEARK officials approached the department about joining together from 2-5 p.m. Sunday at the Seabrook Recreation Center, 6808 Hazel St.

"There will be fun activities for everyone," Warrior said. "The police department will have a section that will be free for the community."

Warrior said the police department's section of the festival will have a spooky trailer, photo booth, several candy stations, game booths and free hot dogs. She added there will be a host of food trunk vendors as proceeds from the event will fund SEARK's scholarship program.

Hopefully next year, Warrior said, the police department can resume its scavenger hunt in full force back at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

The Jefferson County/Pine Bluff Library will hold its first Fall Festival from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

"This is part of our large community programs that we have every month," library director Ricky Williams said.

The Library Fall Festival will have several booths for candy, pumpkin painting, photos, crafting as well as food trucks, popcorn and cotton candy.

"Costumes are welcomed and hopefully the adults will come dressed up, too," said Williams.

The CDC released guidelines that said to wear a well-fitted mask over your nose and mouth in a public indoor setting, even if fully vaccinated, but warned against wearing a costume mask over your face mask to avoid suffocation.

Suggestions also were to avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces; bring hand sanitizer and use it after touching objects or other people; and wash hands before eating treats once home.

For those passing out candy, recommendations are to set up an outdoor station with individually bagged treats and to avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters. The agency also encourages those handing out candy to put treats in individually wrapped bags at a table or station outside.

Many organizations will Trunk or Treat, where trick-or-treaters will go trunk-to-trunk in a parking lot from car-to-car instead of going door-to-door.

Before the weekend festivities kick off, the Boys & Girls Club will host a Fall Festival from 4-6:30 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church, 200 W. Sixth Ave. in Pine Bluff.

Costumes are welcomed at this trunk-or-treat event where there will be games and prizes.

Kingdom Outreach Initiative, in partnership with Kingdom of God Ministries, will host the Kingdom Fall Festival from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County, 2701 West Short Reeker Ave. in Pine Bluff. Admission is free for all to enjoy games, prizes, snow cones, hot dogs and hamburgers.

St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen Ave., will also host a drive-thru trunk-or-treat event from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday on the church's parking lot.

According to a release, hot dogs, candy and treat bags will be provided. For safety reasons, recipients are asked to stay in their vehicles and open their vehicle trunks. Masks are required.

New St. Hurricane Baptist Church will host a drive-thru trunk or treat from 5-7 p.m. Saturday at 3319 S. Ohio St.

The city of Altheimer will present a Trunk-or-Treat from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday. The mayor, city council and the library will host the event at West Second Street in front of City Hall.

Print Headline: Halloween events return to Pine Bluff area amid pandemic

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