Some residents in Wichita Halloween hotspot concerned for COVID-19

Some residents in Wichita's Halloween hotspot concerned for COVID-19
Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 4:52 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - There are 39 days and counting until Halloween, but the holiday could be the latest celebration scared off by COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released recommendations on safer traditional activities to enjoy and others to avoid.

The guidance comes as many, including those in the Halloween hotspot of College Hill, try to figure out what the holiday will look this year. The neighborhood is normally decked out with Halloween decorations and filled with trick-to-treaters of all ages. But this year, the CDC says one of the scariest things you or your children could do is walk up to someone’s door, knock and say, “trick or treat.”

College Hill resident Therese Blyn says every year, her family goes big on Halloween. This year, she’s considering social distancing - even her pumpkins.

“We love participating. We still want to and we feel like kids will still come, but we just want to make sure everyone is safe,” says Blyn.

Resident Megan Burgardt agrees there will be some sort of ghoulish delightful fright, just not in the traditional way of years past.

“We have not started buying candy yet, which is unusual. Usually, we’re well on our way to stocking up by now. Just trying to see what’s going to happen this year with COVID,” says Burgardt.

Even with the latest guidance from the CDC that states trick-or-treating is among the higher risk activities for the season, both Blyn and Burgardt say they would appreciate some guidance from the City of Wichita, even a main event.

“Hoping that the city maybe will step up and say maybe no trick or treating or something rather like that, so it would make it easier. It’s a little bit scary this year,” says Blyn.

As for costumes, Diane Spunaugle, the owner of Dominion Halloween says the pandemic has also changed the way her business operates. She says moving sales online helped with the extra precautions, but it hasn’t been easy.

“That is a long progress. We’re still putting stuff up on the website almost daily,” said Spunaugle.

The City of Wichita said the College Hill Neighborhood Association normally requests street barriers for Halloween night, but the members said they will not be making that request this year.

Another disappointment, Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, which would mean College Hill would see several thousand kids cramming the sidewalks and the streets.

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