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Downtown Edmonds cancels trick-or-treating as pandemic Halloween looms

Children trick-or-treat at a restaurant on Halloween, Oct. 31, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

Each year on Oct. 31, the streets in downtown Edmonds are closed to traffic but full of costumed kids of all ages trick-or-treating at the local businesses. This year, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce says Halloween will look different.

“Because of COVID, the Chamber will not be holding the traditional downtown Halloween Trick-or-Treat,” the chamber’s Greg Urban said. “Instead, we are pivoting to an online costume contest to be safe while still bringing together a sense of community during the pandemic.”

The online contest will go live Oct. 1, and will include a number of categories, including “An Edmonds Kind of Hero,” pets, group or family costumes, and various age groups. Residents can vote for their favorites through Oct. 31, with the winners announced and notified in early November.

Participation in the contest is free, but the chamber is encouraging donations so it “can keep its doors open beyond 2020.” Popular community events in downtown Edmonds — Halloween, 4th of July, Car Show, Tree Lighting, and Taste Edmonds — are produced and funded by the chamber, but with revenues so low this year, they say future events and the chamber itself are in jeopardy. Read more here.

Elsewhere, what trick-or-treating will look like this year is yet to be determined. The family holiday so many look forward to each year is going to look different in the pandemic as parents and the people who provide Halloween fun navigate a myriad of restrictions and safety concerns.

Decisions are outstanding in many areas on whether to allow kids to go door to door or car trunk to car trunk in parking lots in search of candy, with Los Angeles first banning trick-or-treating, then downgrading its prohibition to a recommendation.

While the future is uncertain for trick-or-treating, Americans have been stocking up on candy, according to the Associated Press. Sales of Halloween-themed chocolate and candy in the United States were up 70% over 2019 in the four weeks ending Aug. 9, according to the National Confectioners Association.

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Ferrara Candy Co., which makes a Halloween staple, Brach’s Candy Corn, said most of its retail partners asked for early shipments of Halloween candy because of expected demand. Target, however, is reducing candy assortments in anticipation of less trick-or-treating.

CVS Pharmacy said it has scaled back the number of large and giant bags of candy its stores will receive in favor of smaller bags for smaller outings and family gatherings.

Feeding the desire for safety, Walmart is bringing in more masks that can pull double duty as costume accessories, such as versions that feature the words “princess” or “queen.” Walgreens has increased its assortments of indoor and outdoor Halloween decorations, and it stepped up offerings of beverage and snack options for entertaining at home.

Candy-getting scenarios are afloat on social media, with some planning treat tosses to stationary children in their yards so the young don’t have to leave their pandemic bubbles. Others are considering long sticks with hooks for candy buckets at the end, offering social distance at collection time, or long chutes to send the candy through to dressed-up recipients.

A lot of people were looking forward to spooky season this year as Halloween 2020 falls on a Saturday and the date of a full moon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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