Pandemic forces Pinellas cities to put new spin on Halloween events

Local recreation officials have come up with safer ways to celebrate the holiday this year. The city of Seminole, for example, will host a haunted egg hunt Friday, Oct. 30.

Halloween is just a few short weeks away, and while trick-or-treating has not technically been prohibited, the Centers for Disease Control says you probably shouldn’t do it anyway.

The COVID-19 pandemic that has plagued the world for the past eight months is still prevalent and health officials warn that it is more important than ever to socially distance now that flu season is about to kick off.

The coronavirus has been a wet blanket to a host of events and activities scheduled all across Tampa Bay, with its latest victim being Halloween.

The CDC has categorized trick-or-treating as a high-risk activity, along with trunk-or-treats, crowded costume parties, haunted houses and hayrides.

But local recreation officials have come up with safer ways to celebrate the holiday this year.

The city of Seminole will host a haunted egg hunt Friday, Oct. 30.

“This year presented us with the unique restrictions of COVID-19,” said recreation program coordinator Duane Crandall in an email to TBN. “At the time of creation of this event, we were limited to gatherings of 50 people for an outdoor event. We needed to come up with a means to bring kids in in waves of 50 or fewer.

“We decided on a haunted egg hunt,” he continued.

“The Hatching” will be held on the city’s soccer fields, which will allow for social distancing, and will be broken into three different age groups in an effort to limit the number of attendees at one time, Crandall said.

Students in grades kindergarten and first will hunt beginning at 5 p.m.; second- and third-graders will take the field at 6:45 p.m.; and fourth- and fifth-graders will hunt at 8:30 p.m.

Children will be broken into waves of 50, which will consist of seven minutes of hunting. Parents are asked not to bring their children to the field more than five minutes before the event and are asked to leave directly after their wave.

You must purchase tickets prior to the event, which are $5 and are available on Eventbrite.

The city of Largo, which has in the past hosted the popular Spooktacular in Central Park, has also scaled back its celebration.

The city will host a free Drive-O-Ween event Friday, Oct. 30, beginning at 6 p.m.

The event will allow parents to drive through Largo Central Park where Halloween scenes will be erected. Children are encouraged to wear costumes, although all participants must remain in their vehicles at all times.

The first 1,000 children aged 2 and older will receive a bag of candy at the end of the tour.

Rob Stretch, community engagement and media manager for the Clearwater Threshers, says the team is unsure whether or not it will host its annual Boo Fest at Spectrum Field this year.

“The status of this year’s event is still undetermined,” Stretch said in an email to TBN. “I know we are working with the city to determine the best course of action, but nothing has been announced.”