The pandemic won’t stop Halloween celebrations

Costumes and carving are hot, trick-or-treating is not

By Ida Mojadad and Grace Li

Time has been moving at a haphazard pace since March — sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, often not making sense. One great thing about the fall and winter slate of holidays is that they serve as wonderfully obtrusive markers of time. Sure, it’s sad saying goodbye to our long days of sunlight — but at least it’s finally spooky season.

We know that going all out for Halloween or Día de los Muertos isn’t possible this year, but celebrating some time-honored activities like carving pumpkins or crafting costumes are still great ways to get festive as the world outside gets a little too scary.

Health officials highly recommend against traditions like trick-or-treating, indoor costume parties, and commiserating over food and drinks for the high risk it poses in spreading coronavirus. But like most things under the weight of a pandemic this year, there are ways to adapt.

Safe activities

There’s still pumpkins to carve, costumes to buy or craft, and scavenger hunts to be held inside homes with members of the same household.

You can always go beyond pumpkins and gourds in decorating with the likes of fake spiders and jump-scare ghouls or setting up ofrendas for deceased family members. Or watch spooky films, from “Hocus Pocus” to “Coco” or “It Follows” and “Get Out.”

For those who absolutely must trick-or-treat, goodie bags can be individually wrapped and placed at the end of a driveway or lawn, so long as hands are washed before and after preparing. And those who come to collect should sanitize frequently and save the candy gorging for inside the home after washing hands.

Costume parades could still be done in person but must be outside, with no more than 12 people in masks and at least six feet apart. Costume accessories should not be replacements for the usual properly-fitted pandemic masks.

Josiah Image tries to lift a pumpkin. (Samantha Laurey/Special to S.F Examiner)

Josiah Image tries to lift a pumpkin. (Samantha Laurey/Special to S.F Examiner)

S.F. stores selling supplies

Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch: 2101 Sloat Blvd. and 1620 Seventh Ave., 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. daily; hayrides are $5

Bay Natives Nursery: 10 Cargo Way., 9:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m. daily

Guardsmen Pumpkin Patch: 2 Marina Blvd., Mon-Fri 5-9 p.m., Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-9 p.m. from Oct 22-25

Cliff’s Variety: 479 Castro St., Mon-Sat 10 a.m -6:30 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Mixcoatl Arts and Crafts: 3201 24th St., Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Costuming on Haight: 735 Haight St., visits by appointment only

Piedmont Boutique: 1452 Haight St., Thurs-Mon 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Fabrix: 432 Clement St., Sun-Fri, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Mendel’s: 1556 Haight St., Mon-Sat, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Fabric Outlet: 2109 Mission St., Mon-Sat, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

One Stop Party Shop: 1600 Church St. ,Wed-Sat, Noon-4 p.m.

Community Thrift: 623 Valencia St., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Wed, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thurs-Sun; donations by appointment only

Goodwill: 1700 Haight St., 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. and 4631 Mission St. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; not accepting donations

Virtual, socially distanced events

Winchester Mystery House: 525 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose; select days in October, $25-$50. The Hallowe’en Flashlight Tour is a self-guided re-imagining of the estate’s popular flashlight tour with a “new, terrifying” twist,

Touchless Trick of Treat in the Castro for Kids: Oct. 31, 2-5 p.m., the free event is presented by the Castro Merchants Association; email to RSVP

Phantasma: Explore Your Fear!: 225 San Leandro Way, S.F. Thurs., Oct. 15-Oct. 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m., $35-$50; the haunting outdoor theatrical experience is specifically for pods that are social distancing together;

After Dark Online: OK With Decay-All That Remains: Oct. 15, 7 p.m., the Exploratorium online session covers how organic matter starts to fall apart in autumn,

Christian Cagigal’s “Sortilegios”: Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, 7-8 p.m., $25, the magician’s online show explores dark mysteries,

Howl-O-Ween Photos-Mission Bay: Healthy Spot, 1200 4th St., Suite F, S.F., Oct. 17- 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $10. Book a session to take a Halloween-themed photo of your pet; proceeds go to Berkeley Humane,

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose is offering self-guided flashlight tours for the Halloween season. (Courtesy photo)

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose is offering self-guided flashlight tours for the Halloween season. (Courtesy photo)

Amor Eterno-Día de Los Muertos Drag Show: Oct. 22, 7-9 p.m., $10 donation, SOMArts hosts the virtual show accompanying Day of the Dead activities; stream at

Literary Pop! Night of Terrors!: Oct. 24, 7 p.m., Hysteria Comedy writer and comedians host the virtual reading inspired by horror pop-culture favorites,

Storytime Science for Kids-The Halloween Episode: Oct. 28, 1 p.m., free, the Exploratorium’s online event is interactive and spooky,

Halloween Happy Hour: Oct. 28, 6-7 p.m., free. Young Professionals of San Francisco host the costume party-virtual networking event,

Virtual Painting-Halloween Cat: Oct. 29, 6-8 p.m., $10 donation, artist Bonnie Rose teaches how to paint a cat with acrylics;

Day of the Dead Festival of Altars: Nov. 2, 5 p.m., The Marigold Project and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts host a virtual tour of altars dedicated to ancestors and “in the vision of indigenous peoples around the world,”

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