Tips for a safe and fun Halloween: Physically distanced trick-or-treating, haunted tours and Dia de los Muertos celebrations
FRISCO — With Halloween just two weeks away, the Summit County Public Health Department has repeatedly stressed the importance of safety, encouraging families to find alternatives to traditional activities like trick-or-treating.
Public health spokesperson Nicole Valentine said that while door-to-door trick-or-treating is discouraged, there are other ways to hand out candy while keeping a safe distance, such as lining treats up at the end of a lawn or setting out a bowl of candy at the end of a driveway.
“Another alternative is to use a long plastic slide or cardboard tubes or plastic pipes, which I think is kind of fun, to deliver candy from a distance,” Valentine said.
Valentine said children should interact only with other children or families they’ve already been in contact with, including their school cohorts.
“It really is up to individuals and neighbors to plan,” Valentine said. “We encourage the community to celebrate safely and to avoid gatherings because we’re seeing so many outbreaks.”
Summit County towns have canceled community events because they don’t want to encourage gatherings, Valentine said.
The town of Breckenridge, which typically closes down streets to vehicle traffic for trick-or-treating, is not organizing any Halloween activities this year. Town spokesperson Haley Littleton wrote in an email that residents are encouraged to find “nontraditional, socially distant Halloween activities.”
“As Halloween is two weeks away from the start of the ski season, we encourage residents to not let one night set back the whole season,” Littleton wrote.
Frisco also has canceled its annual Trick-or-Treat Street activity.
Silverthorne spokesperson Kim Jardim wrote in an email that the town is suggesting alternative Halloween activities including a movie night at home with family, a virtual haunted house, a costume contest or a neighborhood yard-decorating contest.
The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, which has canceled its usual haunted house, has noticed a recent appetite for haunted tours and is working to provide extra tour opportunities for Halloween, including a special edition of the Breckenridge Haunted Tour, which is a small group walking tour that shares Breckenridge’s eerie stories and takes participants to places claimed to be haunted.
The Tombstone Tales at Twilight Hour tour also will be available on Halloween in addition to the typical Thursday tours. The Tombstone Tales tour uses gravesites at Valley Brook Cemetery to tell stories of Breckenridge’s early residents as well as unusual or untimely deaths.
Both tours are history-based, guides dress up in Victorian-style costumes, and Heritage Alliance Executive Director Larissa O’Neil said they aren’t meant to be “jump out and scare you” type tours. Learn more or book a tour at BreckHeritage.com.
Businesses also are offering festive events, such as Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails’ kids pumpkin painting nights, which are available by reservation from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, and Oct. 26.
Dia de los Muertos
Breckenridge Creative Arts also has some Halloween-themed activities this month, but the main event is Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated in Mexican traditions.
BreckCreate President and CEO Matt Neufeld said the organization is striving to create a safe and culturally inclusive celebration.
“Part of right now in this moment in our community, what feels really important is reinforcing those connections,” Neufeld said. “You’re seeing a lot of ‘be kind’ messaging going around, and particularly when we are forced to isolate it gets very difficult as you’re just trying to maintain your own health and your mental health and your family’s health.
“So an opportunity like Dia de los Muertos allows us to really strengthen and reinforce those connections, remind us that we’re all here part of the same community and celebrate part of the culture of our community that maybe not everyone is familiar with.”
BreckCreate Community Outreach Coordinator Elisa Gomez said the organization has three goals when planning the holiday events: To provide authentic education on Dia de los Muertos traditions, to celebrate in a way that honors the Hispanic community in Summit County and sets the stage for broader cultural recognition in the future, and to engage the entire community. The event Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge will feature storytelling from the Mexican Cultural Center, Aztec dance performances and an ofrenda demonstration.
Ofrendas, which are altars made for a person who has died, have been made by local organizations, such as Mountain Dreamers and Summit High School, and will be on display in public locations around town for people to view on their own time through Nov. 1. Several restaurants also are hosting ofrendas and have created special menus comprising food that reflects traditions of Dia de los Muertos.
“People can go and read about what that food means to the restaurant or which specific staff member’s recipe it is,” Gomez said. “It really encourages people to get to know these local businesses a little more intimately as well as learning about the traditions of Dia de los Muertos.”
There will be capacity limits for safety reasons, but Neufeld said performances have been retooled to tailor to intimate audiences and that there will be recurring performances.
The Oct. 24 event also will provide take-and-make crafts.
In addition to the Dia de los Muertos celebration, BreckCreate is hosting several private art workshops, the themes of which can be tailored to participants. Learn more at BreckCreate.org.
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