How to trick-or-treat yourself responsibly this Halloweekend in Juneau

A home in downtown Juneau is decorated and ready for socially distant trick-or-treaters. (Photo by Mikko Wilson/KTOO)

While the pandemic put a damper on many holidays this year, determined Juneauites are finding creative ways to celebrate Halloween.

The City and Borough of Juneau recommends that families avoid parties, haunted houses and door-to-door trick-or-treating this year. Most of those are already canceled.

The CDC has a guide for how to celebrate Halloween safely. It encourages outdoor activities, masks, frequent hand washing and social distancing. Even with those measures, trick-or-treating is considered a moderate risk activity.

Still, all over town people have rigged up contraptions to deliver candy to costumed kids while staying socially distant, whether by clothesline or makeshift chute.

The Governor’s Mansion will open Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. for the trick-or-treating.

But not everyone is up for the usual Halloween activities this year. Even the Flats neighborhood — which usually attracts hundreds of trick-or-treaters from all over town — will be relatively quiet. A few households may still hand out candy, but many plan to sit this year out.

In the Mendenhall Valley, parents have organized a trunk-or-treat event at the Mendenhall Mall parking lot Saturday afternoon. Deborah Clements said they have about 30 volunteers who will stage their cars with trunks full of goody bags.

Trick-or-treaters will stay distanced in their bubbles and masks are required for anyone over two.

“We’re going to do nauseating amounts of mitigation, as far as people roaming with extra hand sanitizer,” Clements said. “We’re going to have a tent set up where people have to come and at least sign up with a representative name and phone number, just in case we need any quick contact tracing.”

A Halloween decoration in the Flats neighborhood of Juneau strikes a positive note during a quieter than normal holiday season. (Photo courtesy of Meilani Schijvens)

There’s also a Halloween car parade Saturday afternoon that will weave through different parts of town and deliver candy.

In Douglas, trick-or-treating has already been rare for decades. Most families opt for a drier option — the annual Ghost Walk at Mount Jumbo Gym.

But with this year’s event canceled, Melissa Griffiths saw an opportunity to revive trick-or-treating in a safe way. She posted a form for people to fill out if they plan to trick-or-treat with kids or if they would like to hand out candy, with the expectation that people observe health and safety rules.

She’ll turn the responses into a map.

“It’s definitely my goal that it becomes a thing again in Douglas,” Griffiths said. “I think there’s a chance for that this year, if it goes well, and it’s looking promising. It just took a global pandemic.”

This is her third year putting together the trick-or-treat map for Douglas, and Griffiths said the response has been at least double what she’s seen in the past. She’ll publish the map on Facebook on Friday.

For those hoping to remain in their bubbles, the Gold Town Nickelodeon and city Parks and Recreation department have organized drive-in movies at Sandy Beach on Halloween.

Everyone is required to stay in their cars. Family-friendly movie “The Addams Family” will show at 6 p.m. and “Poltergeist” will play at 9:30 p.m.

Gold Town Nick is even putting on its annual Rocky Horror Picture Show performance at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Friday and Saturday nights.

This post has been updated.