‘The spirit of Halloween should still be there’: Neighbor islands adapt to festivities amid pandemic

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Halloween is on Saturday, Oct. 31 and officials worry that it could bring more people out and about.

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Large gatherings have been canceled statewide.

Nearly 20,000 people typically attend Halloween festivities on Front Street in Lahaina, Maui. The Halloween celebration typically includes keiki parades, festivities and costume contests.

The event was canceled this year.

“Originally, we had planned for a Front Street event that would close the street down but that’s not happening anymore due to safety concerns,” explained Lahaina Action Town Committee President Sne Patel.

Front Street will be open to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, but the Maui Police Department will be present to make sure large gatherings do not appear.

“Yes, we’ll have an increased presence out there. We are enforcing the rules of the proclamation set forth by the governor, as well as the mayor,” explained Maui Police Department Lieutenant Audra Sellers.

Groups larger than 10 are not allowed in Maui County, and face coverings are required by everyone over 5-years-old.

Halloween typically brings in $3 million to Front Street businesses, and this year’s shutdown is another blow for businesses that are already struggling.

“We’re well aware that there’ll be some sort of economic hit, but for the safety and concern of the public, and making sure we don’t go backwards with the progress that we’ve made, I think everyone’s willing to sacrifice,” explained Patel.

Bars and restaurants will remain open, but some say they will close early if necessary.

“We generally close at 9 p.m., but we’re going to see what happens. You know, kind of read your crowd as they say,” explained Ginny Block, Assistant General Manager at Captain Jack’s Lahaina.
“We’re controlling volume, staying within CDC, as well as county guidelines, to make sure that everybody safety is our top priority.”

She said there will be no dance floor or DJ this year.

Maui keiki will be able to attend two contactless “drive-boo” events. One will be held at the Outlets of Maui and the other at Keopuolani Park in Wailuku.

On Kauai, the Halloween festivities have already kicked off with virtual costume contests at Kukui Grove Center. The outdoor shopping center offers crafts for keiki to take home and they are offering shop and dine events to support businesses.

“That’s the idea here is to do it safe, and to mask up. We say costumes optional, masks required,” said Kukui Grove Center’s Marketing Manager Melissa Warrack.

Masks are required on all islands for any public event. Officials are reminding people that they need to wear a proper mask because costume masks do not offer protection.

“People need to wear a cloth mask or medical-surgical mask to get the protection that they need,” explained Lieutenant Governor Josh Green who put on a Darth Vader mask to show its ineffectiveness. “So, everyone this may provide you with the force, but it will not protect you from COVID.”

Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim said he will not be offering treats at his home for this holiday but will spend time in costumes with his family.

“The spirit of Halloween should still be there. We just got to find a different way to share that happiness and share that good fun attitude, and share the opening of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Green said people need to be smart this weekend and not attend large gatherings or we could see a surge in cases in the coming weeks.

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