Knoxville woman cancels 20+ year Halloween tradition amid pandemic

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With Halloween coming up at the end of the month, Knox County’s mayor announced neighborhood trick-or-treating can go on as planned this year.

The announcement came with a series of recommendations to celebrate safely amid the pandemic.

But a local woman in a Halloween hot spot is shaking up her tradition because of COVID-19.

On a typical Halloween night in the Island Home neighborhood, the streets are usually packed with trick-or-treaters.

“I have neighbors who will go back to the store 2 and 3 and 4 times to get enough candy to take care of all the kids that come,” said Carolyn Williams, who lives in the neighborhood.

But 2020 is anything but typical.

“For the first time in the 41 years that we’ve lived here, we will not be answering the door, nor handing out candy, treats, because we just don’t think it’s safe. We don’t think it’s safe for the kids and their families, and we don’t feel safe doing it,” Williams said.

There’s another break in tradition for Williams because of COVID-19. This year, she says, she’s canceling her annual Halloween party for children in the neighborhood.

“It’s sort of sad because we always have such a good time,” she said.

While Williams expects her neighbors who are participating in Halloween celebrations to follow safety recommendations, she’s looking forward to a time that feels more like years past.

“We hope that next year we’ll be out sitting on the porch handing out candy again. That’s the goal,” said Williams.

The Island Home Neighborhood Association says they’ll meet on Monday and should have a better idea of their community’s Halloween game plan then.

In the meantime, Knox County put out a list of recommendations offered up by the Health Department for safe trick or treating.

You can find the City of Knoxville’s guidelines, here, and the CDC’s lists of Halloween recommendations, here.

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