Grand Prairie reimagines annual Halloween event during health pandemic

As North Texas leaders discuss ways to rethink Halloween celebrations, the city of Grand Prairie already thought about it and created an experience that can give families some thrills without leaving their cars.

The campsites at Loyd Park in Grand Prairie are decked out for Halloween.

The annual event organized by the city of Grand Prairie is driven largely by campers who adorn their spots with the scary and bizarre. It’s a tradition of sorts for families that typically draws around 5,000 people each weekend.

But like most things in 2020, it’ll look different.

Chris Chastain is with the city of Grand Prairie. Gone this year are some of the events that give it more of a carnival-like feel.

“We are pivoting the event so it’s only a drive-thru event this year,” he said. “So we won’t be offering the hayrides in the attempt to maintain social distancing and asking people to stay in cars to make sure they are safe. But we’re not losing the spirit that has made this event so special.”

With case numbers rising in parts of North Texas, some area leaders have expressed concerns about people’s Halloween activities.

“It’s particularly important we protect our community regarding Halloween,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “This means unfortunately it’s not going to be safe this year for kids to go door-to-door trick or treating.”

Regardless of plans, families will be taking extra precautions this year… while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy.

It’s something those on both the receiving and giving end of the scares agree on.

“We hope that people see that and come out even if some of their other plans for the holiday season are changing,” Chastain said. “We still want to be there for them.”

The CDC says that traditional trick or treating and even trunk or treating are high-risk events. Lower risk would be things like scavenger hunts. And it would seem a drive-thru event would fit the bill too.