Covid-19, storm damage puts Halloween festivities on hold

For Haunted Garage founder Glen Williams, damage to his home has done more than just put his local attraction on hiatus.

Photo credit: Grosse Pointe News

For Haunted Garage founder Glen Williams, damage to his home has done more than just put his local attraction on hiatus. “I can’t live in about half the house right now,” Williams said. “So we’re still repairing inside of the house.”

By Amelia Nowicki, Brandon Miller, and Kaitlyn Barr

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, normal holiday festivities have been put on hold, and with Halloween around the corner, many have begun to wonder how they will be able to celebrate.
As someone who looks forward to Halloween each year, sophomore Lizzy Cwiklinski has already given thought to celebrating safely despite restrictions on many activities.
“I plan on celebrating Halloween in the comfort of my own home,” Cwiklinski said. “I’m going to carve pumpkins with my dad and watch some classics like “Halloween,” “Hocus Pocus” and “Corpse Bride.”
While many are unhappy with the lack of public festivities, most believe that safety should still be the top priority.
On September 24, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services provided guidance as to how to participate in holiday celebrations safely. Regarding trick-or-treating, they urged parents to discuss ways to take precaution with their children, including methods such as only visiting houses enforcing safety rules, trick-or-treating only with household members and social distancing while traveling door-to-door.
For participating homeowners and members of the community, the MDHHS also outlined ways to create safe environments for trick-or-treating by utilizing distribution tables and passing out candy outside, further from a front door.
In addition to Halloween gatherings and trick-or-treating, many local attractions have also been put on hold. However, for Glen Williams, founder of Haunted Garage Productions, the pandemic was only part of the reason for a Halloween hiatus. Following a destructive summer storm, Williams was left with major damage to his home, which houses his annual Halloween fundraisers.
“Unfortunately, a number of trees were deposited from that storm on my house, and it’s actually put two holes in my roof with entry points from branches, big branches,” Williams said. “So we’re still repairing.”
Each year, the money raised by Haunted Garage Productions goes towards programs hosted by PTOs within Grosse Pointe elementary schools. Some examples include school-wide programs that promote reading by supplying each student and teacher with a book, paid for by funding from the spooky fundraiser.
That said, Williams is disappointed that students within the district will be missing out on certain opportunities to both learn and enjoy themselves, and hopes that families will still find ways to make light of this year’s Halloween season while abiding by protocols.
“I’ve seen the kids miss so much this year,” Williams said. “I think, if families feel comfortable going out for Halloween, (they should).”
While social-distancing adaptations of certain activities have persevered among mass closures, many secondary in-school festivities will likely be skipped altogether this year as schools within the district remain closed through the holiday.
Math teacher Nicole Sturgeon typically celebrates Halloween by decorating her classroom for one day, known as her Pop-up Party, and while it will be difficult for Sturgeon to celebrate normally, she is still supporting and telling students to do what they can to celebrate the holiday.
“In terms of this year, hey, put a costume on, do something fun, contribute to something else. Tell a scary story. Write a spooky story,” Sturgeon said. “…If you don’t usually have your camera on in class, have your camera on but wear your costume. Do whatever it takes for you to really participate (and) be a part of the day.”
On Halloween, Sturgeon will still do what she can so her and her family celebrate safely. Her family is planning on staying inside to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Although this includes the family sitting out on passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, Sturgeon is planning to still dress up in costume, and give her kids the option to pick out a Halloween treat, even if they are unable to go trick-or-treating.
Collectively, Cwiklinski, Williams and Sturgeon believe that while restrictions on certain festivities remain intact, they should not hinder families from celebrating in a both safe and fun manner.
“Personally, I believe that (if) people prioritize and comply with safety protocols, there’s no problem with going out,” Cwiklinski said. “It’s definitely gonna be a lot less populated, but it’s gonna be successful for those who are participating.”

 

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