Halloween happenings reinvented amid COVID scare

Halloween happenings reinvented amid COVID scare
Photo credit: Mike Kinney

By Kathy Chouteau and Mike Kinney

With the pandemic poised to cast a long and scary shadow this Halloween—coupled with an advisory from Contra Costa County health officials to forego trick-or-treating, haunted houses and large holiday gatherings—some popular events, such as Richmond’s Trick-or-Treat on 23rd Street, have been cancelled.

Luckily, the spirit of Halloween is alive and well in Richmond and nearby cities, thanks to the never-say-die ingenuity of our people. Here’s a roundup of safe and socially distanced local happenings so you can still celebrate the holiday amongst all the ghosts, ghouls and goblins.


Read with Me:  RPD Virtual Storytime & Halloween Costume Contest: Officers from the Richmond Police Department (RPD) are hosting a Halloween Virtual Storytime for kids via a live webinar on Zoom Fri., Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. (Look for the Zoom link on the RPD’s social media sites as the date draws near). Adding to the online fun, the department will also have a Halloween Costume Contest with winners announced during the live webinar. To participate in the contest, submit a photo of your costume to [email protected] by Mon., Oct. 26 and include your child’s category: category #1: 0-5 years old; category #2: 6-11 years old; category #3: 12-17 years old; and category #4: best homemade costume. Five submissions will be accepted from each category on a first-come-first-served basis. Photos from each category will be posted on the RPD’s Facebook page Tues., Oct. 27; the photo from each category that receives the most likes will win that category and a prize. Votes will be closed and tallied Fri., Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. and the winners will be announced on the live webinar that afternoon at 4 p.m. For more details, including Costume Contest rules, click here

Trunk or Treat Car Decoration Contest: Over in Point Richmond, the #TeamDubb Trunk or Treat 2020 will take place from 6-9 p.m. Sat., Oct. 31 in Starbuck’s parking lot at 78 Railroad Ave. Organizers invite community members to decorate the family car and drive on over for candy, music, raffles and a ‘Best Trunk or Treat Car Decoration’ contest.” West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Board Trustee Carolyn Wysinger will share her thoughts on “reimagining WCCUSD as a 21st century school district.” Attendees are asked to bring masks, hand sanitizer and practice all social distancing guidelines. Learn more here.

Halloween Drive-In: Richmond’s Traverse Fitness will play home to a three-hour, supernatural spectacular Oct. 30 and 31, when Princess SF and Skyhigh Odditorium present the “Halloween Drive-In,” with performances by drag artists, aerialists, ninjas and more enjoyed from the comfort and safety of spectators’ own cars. Hosted by Kochina Rude and Lisa Frankenstein, the event will include DJ sets, a projected live feed, aerial acrobats, performers and dancers from the Skyhigh Odditorium Dragonettes and performances by Traverse Fitnesses’ own Ninja Warriors. Guests should bring their own food and libations and “lewks” are encouraged. Masks and COVID-19 health guidelines will be strictly enforced.

Traverse Fitness is located at 1 West Barrett Ave. in Richmond; the event will take place in the front parking lot. Tickets to the Halloween Drive-In range from $50 to $200 and the show will be presented Oct. 30 and 31 from 7-10 p.m. For more info or to purchase tickets, click here.

ABC Tree Farms Pumpkin Patch: Now through Sat., Oct. 31, ABC Tree Farms is returning to Richmond to host its annual pumpkins patch. Although the company is scaling back on its offerings due to COVID-19, they will have inflatable slides for kids ages 4-12 (socks required), paint ball and, of course, the pumpkin patch. Cash and major credit cards are accepted; no checks. ABC Tree Farms sets up its temporary home at 2200 Hilltop Mall Rd. near Walmart. Hours are Mon. through Thurs. 3-8 p.m. and Fri. through Sun. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. COVID-19 guidelines are enforced. For more info, click here.

Barrett Avenue Hill: An unofficial but always dependable Halloween spectacle in Richmond is the stretch of Barrett Avenue that runs uphill East of San Pablo Avenue. There you will find a scattering of “Halloween houses” that go all-in on decorating their front yards and facades for the occasion—ghosts, ghouls, witches, spiders, bats, gravestones and pumpkins to boot—a welcome mat for lovers of the macabre if ever there was one. If you go, be sure to look for the white house with the pumpkin-head at the Brooks Avenue cross street—and watch out for the flying ghosts! In the age of COVID, a drive up or down this stretch of Barrett Avenue from the socially distanced safety of your car will help you keep the Halloween spirit alive while staying socially distanced.


Spooktacular Costume Contest: The City of San Pablo’s Community Services Department is celebrating the season of scary with a Virtual Halloween Costume Contest with these categories: best homemade, scariest, cutest, best group, most original and best pet costume. Community members can enter by Thurs., Oct. 29 by visiting the City of San Pablo’s Facebook page and uploading a photo of your costume with the hashtag #SPHALLOWEEN2020, as well as the hashtag of your aforementioned costume category. Costume winners will be featured in the City’s Halloween Day Virtual Parade video. For more info, click here.


2020 Scarecrow Contest: The City of Hercules’ Parks & Recreation Department is holding a “2020 Scarecrow Contest.” To participate, community members should complete and submit the Scarecrow Contest entry form to the Parks and Recreation Department by Tues., Oct. 13, then build/create a scarecrow and display it outside the week of Oct. 26-31. Scarecrows can be either traditional or interpretive and prizes will be awarded for each category. Winners will be determined by the scarecrow that receives the most votes. Photo are due by midnight on Wed., Oct. 21; email photos of your scarecrow to [email protected]. For more info, click here.


Dumlao’s Academy Of Martial Arts Halloween Trunk or Treat: Join Renee Zamboanga Dumlao of Dumlao’s Academy of Martial Arts Sat., Oct. 31 from 4-6 p.m. for a Halloween Trunk or Treat in the parking lot at 920 San Pablo Ave. in Pinole. In an event that’s open to the public, parents are invited to decorate their car trunks and bring their kids for free. Those interested in donating trunk space, time and candy should contact the organizer. Questions? Call 510.724.1951.

City of Pinole’s Trunk or Treat Food Drive: The City of Pinole has something charitable in mind for its Trunk or Treat Drive over at the Tiny Tots Facility, 2454 Simas Ave. in Pinole, on Sat., Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fill your trunk will canned and non-perishable items, drive on over to the event and help those in need. Questions? Call 510-724-9062, email [email protected] or click here.

City of Pinole’s Halloween Community Costume Raffle: Pinole’s Recreation Department is scaring up some Halloween fun with its Community Costume Raffle. To participate, submit your photo entry for the appropriate age group by 6 p.m. Sat., Oct. 17 to the following contacts: For children 0-5 years old, send your pic to Tiny Tots at [email protected] or call 510-724-8965 for info; for children ages 6-14 years old, email Pinole Youth Services at [email protected] or call 510-724-9004 for info; and for seniors 50-plus years of age, email the Pinole Senior Center at [email protected] or call 510-724-9800 for info. The department will then enter participants into the raffle (one entry per person). Winners will be announced on Tues., Oct. 20 and winning photos will be displayed on the City’s website and on the City’s Facebook page during the month of October. Winners will be contacted via email for their mailing address for the mailing of their gift card prize. For more info, click here.