On a typical Halloween, Stephanie Benton said, her 11- and 17-year-old children celebrate the holiday in a number of ways.
She said her son typically hangs out with his friends while, for her daughter and her friends, they throw a Halloween party.
This year is anything but typical.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in restrictions on gatherings and even changed the way people run errands. Benton said they’re trying something different this year so the family can still enjoy the holiday and even try to bring a little joy to the community.
“I’m a creative person, my kids are creative,” Benton said. “... This year, we thought it would be nice and fun, instead of just saying ‘this Halloween is not what it’s supposed to be’ … but I wanted to teach the kids that it’s OK that things aren’t normal, you can always make something good out of something that seems negative.”
They are working to sculpt a large Frankenstein made out of cardboard, wire and paper mache and, on Halloween, take it to a local park to hand out bags of candy – put together using masks and gloves – for local children.
“Hopefully some kids or families will want to take a picture (with Frankenstein) or get a bag of candy,” Benton said. “... You can bring a little bit of joy in a time of crisis.”
She said the Frankenstein sculpture is sitting down, but she estimates that if it were standing, it would be about 6 and a half to 7 feet tall.
The plan is to take it to Lloyd Park off of Bridge Street in Yuba City from 4-6 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31. She said they plan to have social distancing in place and probably have a table set up where kids can pick up bags of candy.
“We just wanted to do something that would bring a little bit of ‘hey, look, that’s cool’ to 2020, something different that we don’t do in the community a whole lot,” Benton said. “... We just want this little thing to make a big impact.”
Benton said she is also accepting candy donations until Oct. 28 – so they have time to bag all of the candy. Those interested in donating can call 777-6062.
With tombstones inscribed with quirky sayings and names, such as “I told you I was sick” and an “Olivehearse,” Kim and Dale Nichols’ front yard has been transformed into a haunted cemetery for Halloween this year.
Kim Nichols said she and her husband decorate their Olivehurst home with a different theme each year and utilize mostly handmade decorations.
“(Most) everything is made by hand or we repurpose from the year before,” Nichols said.
She said, for example, they used headboards as part of a pirate ship last year and took those and made them into tombstones this year.
Nichols said they purchase things like the skeletons.
About a year in advance, they decide on the theme and plan throughout the year, she said.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s my favorite holiday,” Nichols said.
She said they plan on passing out Halloween candy this year at the house on the corner of Martel Drive and Olive Avenue.
“Put on a Halloween mask and come get a candy bar,” Nichols said.
Halloween amid COVID-19
Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said people should keep in mind the tenets of social distancing and facial coverings while celebrating Halloween this year.
“If you are planning on handing out candy this year, try to set up a table outside or use tongs to give candy,” Luu said. “You should also be sure to wear a facial covering and wear gloves or hand sanitize between each trick-or-treater.”
Luu said those taking their children trick or treating should plan to go in a group of only household contacts or with one or two other households they have “made a pact with.”
“Try incorporating facial coverings into your costume and utilize the outdoors to spread out,” she said. “Parents should be sure to check that candy is individually and completely wrapped before letting their kids eat it – though this is something parents probably do every year anyway.”
Some alternative activity recommendations include a haunted house or candy scavenger hunt within one’s home for household members; scary movie night and Halloween activities like pumpkin carving and face painting at home; online parties and contests, such as costume or pumpkin carvings; stay-in-the-car outings like contests, movies and driving through Halloween displays; Halloween-themed meals; and decorating the front yard for Halloween.
– The Teegarden Event Center is hosting a number of Halloween events this month.
There will be Haunted House tours on Oct. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31 from 7-10 p.m.
Ghostly figures and eerie scenes will captivate all that attend. The three floors make it possible to have lighter scenes as well as a “dreaded basement of fright.” Parental discretion is advised for young children.
Due to COVID-19, it’s asked that people wear face masks inside the house – Halloween masks will not be accepted as face masks.
There is a $12 entrance fee.
Zombies will come alive to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” throughout the night on Oct. 23, 24, 30 and 31 from 7-10 p.m. Attendance is free and all ages are welcome.
On Halloween, Oct. 31, there will be a pumpkin contest – all ages are welcome.
Judging will be from 6-6:30 p.m.
Priddy Services will be offering pumpkins for the contest – free pumpkin pick-up begins on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. while supplies last at the Teegarden Event Center back yard. There’s a limit of one pumpkin per family.
People can submit their pumpkins for the contest on Oct. 31 between noon and 6 p.m. in the back yard – people can use battery-operated tea light candles for the pumpkins. Attendance is free.
Also on Halloween, there will be a costume contest – judging will be from 6:30-7 p.m.
All ages are welcome and attendance is free.
The Teegarden Event Center is located at 731 Plumas St., Yuba City.
For more information on the events, visit www.teegardeneventcenter.com.
– The Plumas Street Shopping District will be sponsoring a safe zone for trick or treaters on Downtown Plumas Street that follows state requirements from 4-6 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31.
Masks are required for all Halloween events, according to the Teegarden Event Center website.
– The Playzeum Yuba-Sutter is hosting a Wizard Walk on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 5-8:30 p.m. at 1980 S Walton Ave., Yuba City.
Families can go on a stick hunt to make a fairy or wizard wand, join a tour guide to the fog forest, through the bubble trail, by the floating feathers, stop for a photo and see the potion station.
It costs $10 per person.
There are also take-home cookie kits for $20 and take-home science kits for $25.
It’s asked that people reserve for their family or group walking time online.
For more information or to register, visit www.yubasutterplay.org/wizardwalk.
– Scarysville is planned to take place on Halloween, Oct. 31, on D Street in Marysville, however, more details will be released at a later date.
– Yuba Sutter Arts & Culture is hosting “Slightly Batty,” an online musical event, on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at www.yubasutterarts.org.
They will also host “Tales from the Terror Tellers,” a free Halloween eve scary storytime event on the Yuba Sutter Arts Facebook page on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.
– Yuba City will host a drive-through trunk-or-treat event on Oct. 30 at Veterans Memorial Circle, 1201 Civic Center Blvd., Yuba City, from 1-3 p.m.
Dress the family up and bring them to see decorated city vehicles and don’t forget a bag for candy. Admission is free. To adhere to current COVID-19 guidelines, all who attend must stay in their vehicles.
For more information, call 822-4650 or visit www.yubacity.net.
– The Yuba County Library, 303 Second St., Marysville, will host a “Halloween Drive-Thru Trick-or-Treat” event on Oct. 30 for children ages 0-12 from 4:30-5:45 p.m. Children need to be present to receive a treat bag.
For more information, call 749-7380.
– The Sutter County Sheriff’s Office will host a drive-through trunk or treat on Oct. 31 from 6-9 p.m. at the sheriff’s office, 1077 Civic Center Blvd., Yuba City.