Modifications to trick-or-treating in the Ames community


Halloween in the Ames community will look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Olivia Ruf

The celebration of Halloween is still permitted in Ames, but it is recommended that trick-or-treating and other festivities are modified to protect participants against coronavirus. 

The city of Ames published recommendations for households to follow if they choose to partake in trick-or-treating this Halloween. The officially designated night for trick-or-treating in Ames is Saturday. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website listed activities in three categories: high risk, moderate risk and low risk. Activities such as trick-or-treating or attending an indoor haunted house fall into the category of high-risk activities. An activity in the moderate-risk category includes participating in one-way trick-or-treating, such as grabbing prepared goodie bags while continuing to social distance. An activity from the low-risk category includes carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance from neighbors or friends.

Brooke Mallon, an Iowa State alumna and Ames resident, said she plans on having “grab-and-go”-style goodie bags for trick-or-treaters to take on Halloween. 

“We’re lucky to not have COVID-19 be a huge issue for us in our house; we don’t have any medical issues,” Mallon said. “But our street has older residents, like my neighbor who is 75, which worries me, so we’re trying to do our part this Halloween.” 

Ames resident Jody Yearington Gray has been hosting Gray Family trick-or-treating for at least 20 years with her family. She said she and her family plan to host a big annual celebration again this year. 

Gray said last year, their house was met with 500 trick-or-treaters, which is the amount they are preparing for this year as well. 

Gray also said her family is hoping parents will be respectful of each other and respect social distancing. She will also be asking visitors to not touch any of the toys they have available for the trick-or-treaters and to choose just by looking at the selection and a helper will grab the toy for the trick-or-treater. 

“We’re opening sooner than the Ames hours and closing later, too,” Gray said. “We know it’s going to take more time, but it’s for the kids.”

She said their house will look different than normal this year, with a few less decorations to make room for one-way paths to keep contact down. 

Many events across the nation, such as parades, haunted houses and forests, are being canceled due to the pandemic. The Ames Haunted Forest has canceled their first season in 20 years. 

For those not trick-or-treating this year, the CDC has compiled a list of lower-risk alternatives to trick-or-treating. Some examples include carving pumpkins with housemates or neighbors, walking from house to house to admire decorations at a distance or doing outdoor activities such as visiting an orchard, forest or corn maze.

Other low-risk-category examples include hiding Halloween treats in and around the house, holding a Halloween treat hunt with household members and holding an outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes.

“This year has been rough on us all, so we want to make our house a safe but enjoyable place for kids,” Gray said.