Austin neighborhood finds creative ways to trick-or-treat this Halloween amid COVID-19 pandemic

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — One southwest Austin neighborhood has come together to celebrate Halloween safely. More than 60 Vintage Place neighbors are hosting a ‘neighborhood only’ trick-or-treat event this weekend.

In an effort to keep everyone safe, they’ve come up with different methods to deliver the candy.

Sarah Spagnol hangs up treats on a clothesline she put up for Halloween in her front yard. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

One neighbor, Bud Hasert, made a pirate-themed candy cannon. Another neighbor, Sarah Spagnol, created a clothesline candy delivery system.

“There’s a couple of houses here that have posted pictures of some very large and elaborate candy shoots they’ve been building,” Spagnol said.

Spagnol organized the ‘neighborhood only’ event via social media after some wondered if they would celebrate at all given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“I like doing it this way because I feel like I have a little bit of control over how it happens versus just letting it happen,” she said.

“So many kids and so many costumes and people I’ve never seen before and handing out all that candy,” Hasert added as he reminisced of Halloweens’ past. “So we hated to see that go away.”

Bud Hasert gets ready to shoot some candy out of his candy cannon. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

Hasert remembers when the streets would fill with visitors looking to visit the neighborhood’s most popular spot.

“Yeah, most people probably think of it as the Hogwarts neighborhood but it’s called the Vintage Place,” Hasert said explaining why they would see so many families each Halloween.

That’s because Hasert and Spagnol live in a magical neighborhood home to the city’s very own Diagon Alley Austin Halloween House.

This year, things will also look a little different for the Pace family and their Harry Potter-inspired display.

“With the pandemic we had to change the display from the immersive walk through display that we have done the last few years to something that is much more pandemic socially distant,” Joel Pace said.

The Pace family is also participating in the ‘neighborhood only’ Halloween event Spagnol put together.

“It’ll be a fun way for us to celebrate as a community,” Hasert said.

“Halloween, I think, is really important for those little kids,” Spagnol said. “As you’re planning, just picture small children and how to make it fun for them and safe. You can’t go wrong, especially right now, because I don’t think a lot of kids thought Halloween was going to happen.”

Austin Public Health officials are encouraging families to “get creative” and find a way to celebrate instead of trick-or-treating.

Dr. Mark Escott said trick-or-treating presents a “substantial amount of risk,” and he hopes families will adjust their holiday celebrations and find alternative ways to celebrate that including social distancing.

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