Punta Gorda’s historic downtown Halloween celebration to change due to COVID

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
punta gorda halloween

In a normal year, thousands of people would flock to downtown Punta Gorda for their annual Halloween celebration. But in 2020, because of the pandemic, leaders are calling for celebrations in your own neighborhood – with masks, of course.

Either way, they still think some sort of trick-or-treating is necessary to keep the tradition alive.

“We made the decision that we were going to do Halloween no matter what,” said Christi Smith of Punta Gorda.

WINK News Reporter Erika Jackson: “Christi, you’re like Punta Gorda’s queen of Halloween… with all your ghosts and goblins.”

“We had eight trick-or-treaters in 1979 and over the years, more and more people have come,” Smith said.

Halloween has become a big deal in Punta Gorda since then. “A lot of them have been coming by for years with their children and now they come with maybe their grandchildren.”

But because of the coronavirus, celebrations will have to change.

Smith gets it. “I was disappointed [but] I understand their position,” she said.

She said there are ways to do it safely. “We feel we could do it safely, outside activity, we’re going to wear gloves, we’re going to wear masks. We are hoping that most people will wear masks, it is Halloween after all.”

She just hopes people are willing to show up. “If 10 people show up, that will be great, I will be excited. But if hundreds show up, that will be OK too.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against door-to-door trick-or-treating and other large gatherings, like parties.

Instead, they call for trick-or-treating at a social distance, adding that grab-and-go bags are of “moderate risk.”

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