While the Downtown Business Association has decided to call off its annual Halloween trick-or-treat event, and the concept of trick-or-treating at all this year has been imperiled because of the COVID-19 epidemic, area children will still have one place to go to gather up Halloween goodies — Mount Airy High School.
The city school system will be offering a drive-through trick-or-treating event called Halloween 2020 — Sweet and Safe, on Oct. 31, at the Mount Airy High School parking lot from 5 -6:30 p.m.
“Main Street Mount Airy has always been an awesome time for families on Halloween,” said Mount Airy City Schools Executive Officer of Communications Carrie Venable. “We questioned if downtown would hold their annual trick-or-treating event as businesses have been deeply impacted by COVID. We continue to watch merchants work hard to ensure visitors and patrons remain safe while shopping.”
Once she learned from Downtown Coordinator Lizzie Morrison there would be no downtown Halloween events this year, Venable said that “sent the district into full swing to plan a great community event.”
“Since March, COVID-19 has disrupted life as we knew it,” she said. “Businesses have been forced to close or limit services, teachers have taught online, parents have become teachers, and students have experienced a different version of childhood.”
She and others in the city schools want to help area children maintain as normal life as possible, and because the schools have been working for months to reintegrate area youth into schools and other aspects of life, she believes the city schools have the experience to pull off a fun and safe Halloween event.
“Given the current worldwide pandemic, we knew we had two things we had to accomplish, an opportunity for students and families to enjoy Halloween and a way for them to do so safely. Mount Airy City Schools employees have worked non-stop to keep our students and staff healthy and well and something like trick-or-treating the way we are accustomed to has to the potential to increase COVID spread,” she said.
“Since August 17, students have been able to return … to Mount Airy City Schools classrooms, see their teachers face-to-face, socialize with friends, and regain a sense of normalcy. While school events such as open houses, academic and athletic competitions, and even the Mount Airy City Schools’ annual Community Night have been canceled due to the pandemic, the school district continues to push forward.”
And that means offering the community a Halloween event that they believe will allow for some autumn fun without health dangers.
“For over seven months, school officials have been discussing, planning, and executing health and wellness measures and they are conditioned to look ahead. When Halloween came into sight, the idea of ensuring children could enjoy the upcoming holiday while also staying safe became a hot topic.”
That led to the plans for Halloween 2020 — Sweet and Safe.
“To keep everyone participating in the event safe, families will remain in cars during the drive-through event. Partners handing out treats will wear a mask, walk up to the vehicles to deliver goodies, and wear gloves or use hand sanitizer. Participants should consider dressing up their vehicle as well as themselves,” she said of plans for the night.
Quickly after the schools decided to pursue the project, Venable said many other groups jumped at the chance to help. Among those are WSYD, which will be broadcasting from the event, as well as Cooke Rentals, Northern Regional Hospital, Mount Airy Drug, Moody Funeral Service, and Pine State Marketing. Groups and businesses participating in the trick-or-treat experience include BHT Tharrington Primary, Downtown Business Association, Farm Bureau of Mount Airy, Haymore Baptist Church, Helping Hands, JJ Jones Intermediate School, J’s HVAC, Johnson Granite, MACS Community Central Office, MAHS HOSA, Mount Airy High School, Mount Airy Middle School, Movement Mortgage, NextGen, Northern Regional Hospital, Shepherd’s House, Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, Surry Sunrise Rotary, Unique Background Solutions, We Are Forgiven Ministries, and Johnson’s X’treme Softwash.
Anyone wishing to be part of this event can still do so by contacting Carrie Venable by Oct. 22. Contact her by email at email@example.com or phone at 336-786-8355. For more information visit https://bit.ly/MAHalloween202