by ALEXANDRA RETTER
Community members may celebrate the spookiest season safely this weekend in downtown Winona at the Streets and Treats event on Halloween.
The Winona Chamber of Commerce’s Main Street Program organized the event.
Main Street Program Manager Ben Strand said the event’s organizers wished to hold some sort of Halloween event for children this year with traditional trick-or-treating being considered a higher risk activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “So we wanted to brainstorm a safe outdoor event,” Strand shared. “With [Halloween] also being on Saturday, it’s a perfect day. So we wanted them to have something fun to engage with despite the pandemic.”
The event will include a chalk-walk scavenger hunt from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be images of 12 recognizable characters, such as Charlie Brown, spread on sidewalk squares downtown. Children will receive a card with the images and instructions to check them off one by one as they discover them around the downtown area. When they have found all the images, they may turn their card in to receive a bag with an assortment of items, such as candy, Halloween-themed toys and stickers.
There will also be an outdoor haunted graveyard to explore at which Halloween music will be played from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Several Halloween-related puppet shows will be put on during the event as well.
Kids and families will also be able to take free mini pumpkin decorating kits home with them. A local group will be giving out 1,100 perishable meals to families in need at the event, as well.
From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., trunk-or-treating will take place. Trunk-or-treating co-coordinator Connie Bodas said she enjoys dressing up to pass out treats, and she has fun seeing children in their Halloween costumes.
“They’re so proud of themselves and happy,” Bodas noted. “It makes me happy to see them happy.”
She plans to dress up as a chicken farmer this Halloween.
A wide variety of candy from Skittles to M&M’S will be passed out using tables this year instead of trunks, she said. Distributors will wear masks and gloves.
“Our church does this because we love our community and want to provide a safe place for kids to go,” Bodas shared. “Not only just the kids, but the whole family, is able to come out” for trunk-or-treating.
Individuals may also vote for their favorite Halloween window display as part of the Halloween Window Walk in which 18 businesses downtown decorated their windows. (The Winona Post, at 64 East Second Street, has a spooky display window all ready for the event. Check it out!)
The deadline to vote is noon on Halloween. Votes may be cast at winonamainstreet.com/halloween-window-walk. One vote is allowed per person each day.
A few other events will take place to mark the day of costumes and candy. The Winona Public Library will hold a Halloween-themed virtual story time at 9 a.m. The story time may be viewed live on the library’s Facebook page or website. A video of the story time will also be available after on Facebook and YouTube.
A drive-in movie and music event will also be held on Lake Park Drive. Music will begin at 6 p.m., and the movie will start at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made at www.eventbrite.com/o/treedome-31256737227.
Those handing out goodies at home are asked to individually wrap treats, consider passing them out on a table outside that is disinfected frequently, place social-distancing markings if many people stop by the house and have just one person or small group on the house’s stoop at once, according to city guidelines.
Those trick-or-treating are asked to remain in small groups, social distance, wear masks frequently, have hand sanitizer and wipes available and not drive to various neighborhoods much when in vehicles with those to whom one is not related.
Streets and Treats will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Halloween downtown on Third Street from Center Street to Walnut Street and on Lafeyette Street from Second Street to Third Street. Attendees are asked to social distance and wear a mask. Masks will be provided for those who need them.