Traditions and entertaining activities for children celebrating Halloween and fall festivals will be different this year.

Parents and communities are evaluating how to safely allow children to have a bit of normalcy and seasonal enjoyment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual video parties can be fun, but they just aren’t as good as hauling in a shopping bag full of candy.

Some families and organizations are choosing to donate food and treats to nonprofit groups for distribution through their outreach programs. Many churches will continue to have their outdoor pumpkin sales to help raise funds, albeit with masks and socially distant weighing of pumpkins. Several individual households are considering keeping their porch lights off and not handing out candy this year.

In Allen, George Seward has another plan.

“In the last seven months of people being cooped up, I’ve seen a lot more interest in walking outdoors in comments on my local Nextdoorcommunity social network,” Seward said. “So, I thought setting out extra Halloween decorations on my front yard this year would be something my neighborhood might enjoy.”

Seward has enhanced this year's display by up-lighting his trees and adding strobe lights for a memorable Halloween scene from re-designed tombstones to extra spooky mist machines. He is still deciding if there is "a safe delivery system of candy to the kids who come by on Halloween.”

He said, “I’m thinking of setting out individual plastic sacks with candy inside them. Then, parents could decide if they wanted their kids to take one or not.”

Seward said he also hopes that other neighbors will join him in setting out some decorations this year, too.

"I do it mostly for the kids who dress up and their parents who take the time to bring around the neighborhood. I enjoy their smiles,” he said.

A random car with two women in it stopped by to tell Seward how excited they were to see he had decorated his home again. 

One woman from the neighborhood said, "I always bring my grandbaby by your house. It is such a nice thing you are doing again.”

This Halloween will be his 10th year for decorating.

Perhaps you're looking to have some seasonal fun? In that case, there's time to pack some snacks and enjoy a socially distant eerie experience in your car. The lights will be on when darkness falls at 717 Cheyenne Drive, in Allen, through Oct. 31.

And don’t forget to give a wave of thanks to Seward for making his neighborhood a more joy-filled place, especially in a year when residents can all appreciate it even more. 

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