Laurene Weste | Safe, fun Halloween haunts for 2020

Council member Laurene Weste
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Halloween is a much-anticipated time of year for Santa Clarita residents of all ages. As the kickoff to the holiday season, Halloween normally offers a number of fun, spirited activities that you enjoy with your family, friends and neighbors.

When you’re a child, you look forward to Halloween all year because it is a chance to dress up in your favorite costume, have fun with friends and, of course, collect some sweet treats. As adults, we also look forward to this time of year to enjoy the smiles on children’s faces and relish in the spooky fun. With Halloween fast approaching, it is important this year that we celebrate and cherish our time together while still keeping our families, friends and neighbors safe.

As you may be aware, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recently released guidelines for the safe celebration of Halloween. I encourage you to read the information from the CDC and the county as both agencies have provided tips for parents of trick-or-treaters, as well as those planning on distributing goodies, to lessen the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

Scarecrow Alley

The city of Santa Clarita is hosting a new event in advance of Halloween, called Haunted Highway, where residents will drive through Halloween-themed displays and receive a goodie bag filled with fun treats. All spots for this event have already been claimed, but there is still an opportunity for you to experience a thrill or two by visiting Scarecrow Alley.

Scarecrow Alley is a scarecrow decorating competition that challenges individuals, nonprofits and businesses in Santa Clarita to create their own unique scarecrow. Each participant’s scarecrow will be evaluated by a panel of judges for a chance to win prizes. The scarecrows will be part of the Halloween fun displayed during the Haunted Highway.  

If you don’t have Haunted Highway reservations, don’t worry, you can still see all the scarecrows in person this Saturday, on Halloween. All you need to do is drive over to the Santa Clarita Sports Complex (20870 Centre Pointe Parkway) to visit Scarecrow Alley from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 31.

Fun with pumpkins

There is still time to visit a pumpkin patch in Santa Clarita or pick up decorations from a store to support local business owners and still get in your Halloween fix. Another safe and fun activity you can do as a family is have everyone carve a pumpkin and show them off to friends and faraway relatives on social media or with a Zoom hangout.

Speaking of pumpkin carving, this weekend is a great time to round up the neighbors on your block and hold your own neighborhood Jack-O-Lantern contest. You can even come up with a theme for the contest and a prize that will be awarded to the neighborhood winners! 

Trick-or-treating

Those parents, kids and individuals who do go out trick-or-treating should also keep a few general safety tips in mind to ensure their Halloween remains safe and fun. Per CDC and county guidelines, keep your face covering with you and wear it if you are unable to keep 6 feet of physical distance between yourself and someone not from your immediate household.

Look both ways before crossing the street and remember to only cross at a designated crosswalk. Remind children not to dart into the road between parked cars because they may not be seen by drivers.

Drivers should anticipate a higher number of pedestrians — especially children — on the sidewalks in residential areas. While speed limits in these areas are already low, reduce speed when driving through neighborhoods to increase your reaction time.

There are a number of opportunities for residents of all ages to have a fun and safe Halloween in Santa Clarita this year. I look forward to seeing photos of all of you in your costumes!

Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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