Downtown trick-or-treating, once an organized annual event in North Olympic Peninsula towns, has been canceled this year in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend.
It will go on in Forks, although the Forks Chamber of Commerce has not yet announced details.
The combination of high rates of COVID-19 and staffing shortages at local businesses have led to the cancellations.
“Our Halloween event draws so many people that there was just no way we could guarantee safety,” said Mari Mullen, Port Townsend Main Street executive director.
The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce announced last week that it would not host the traditional event.
“It was a combination of rising COVID cases and merchants not being open on Sunday,” said Charla Wright, board president.
“Halloween is not on their normal business day and most of them are already having staffing challenges, which makes events like this difficult to handle.”
The Port Angeles Downtown Business Association canceled its downtown trick-or-treating for similar reasons.
However, individual businesses may be holding their own private events.
“We are not hosting an event this year,” Port Angeles Downtown Business Association President April Bellerud said.
“There wasn’t a lot of interest from the businesses this year, but some will be doing their own events.”
A haunted house is scaring visitors in Forks this month.
The Rain of Terror Haunted Hangar at the Quillayute Airport, 5144 Quillayute Road, is open every Friday and Saturday in October from 7 p.m. to midnight. A special event is planned on Halloween from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tickets for admission are $10 and masks are required. The haunted house is not recommended for children under 12 and anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian present to sign a waiver.
“We are doing our best to make sure our staff and customers are safe,” said Jolene Price, event organizer.
“We check in with each and every actor before opening each night to make sure they are feeling well, not running a fever, or haven’t been in contact with anyone who has tested positive,” she said.
”Masks are required for all staff and customers at all times while in the building. We have hand sanitizer for use upon entry to the hanger and spray available for actors to spray down their area when needed.”
Despite no downtown events, many churches and other groups in Sequim, Port Angeles, and Port Townsend are planning to hold “Trunk or Treating” or other celebratory events.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].