The novel coronavirus is the boogeyman for the 2020 Halloween season as everyone is trying to stay out of the virus’s pinch.
Starting with the free Great Pumpkin Giveaway in Kekaha with its load of enhancements like the Hawai‘i Foodbank Kaua‘i Branch Kokua No Ka ‘Ohana pop-up food distribution Saturday, individuals and groups have been coming up with Halloween alternatives that will keep people safe against the COVID-19 without compromising any of the traditional fun of Halloween (see related stories, A4).
The Great Pumpkin Giveaway continues Wednesday when The Shops at Kukui‘ula plans to distribute pumpkins from 2 to 6 p.m. at the shopping center in Po‘ipu.
“We can’t have the mad crowds gathering,” said Stacie Chiba-Miguel, The Shops at Kukui‘ula general manager. “The giveaway is by appointment or time slots, so there won’t be that large gathering. And, of course, face masks must be worn.”
The Kukui‘ula distribution is the preliminary step for the shopping center’s pumpkin-carving contest, which will take place next Wednesday.
“People pick up their pumpkins this Wednesday and take them home to carve,” Chiba-Miguel said. “They bring back the carved pumpkins next Wednesday for judging and awards. We won’t have the large gatherings of people carving pumpkins.”
Papalani Gelato in Po‘ipu Shopping Village got a head start on Halloween by celebrating the Harry Potter weekend, where it inaugurated its special butterbeer gelato and other fun treats like exploding bon bons.
“This is not to compete with Halloween,” said Matt McGinness, owner and operator of Papalani Gelato.
“But with all the magic and fun, it had to be held in October to give everyone an opportunity to decorate and have fun. The kids have been through a lot since the COVID-19 arrived, and this is a bit of fun escapism. We’ll be doing a bunch of fun flavors unique to Halloween, on Halloween, when a lot of people come in costume.”
Gracie Hale’s family from Lihu‘e came to Po‘ipu especially for the Harry Potter-themed event, Parker Hale enjoying his butterbeer serving in front of a specially-painted street from the books.
“Gracie is the real Harry Potter nut,” said her father. “She’s read all the books and watched the videos. She knows all about Harry Potter, and couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
Gracie’s mother added that she wants to dress up like a Harry Potter student for Halloween.
“People just want to have fun,” McGinness said. “My daughter went wild decorating this place, and there even was a fellow who came fully dressed up in an outfit he picked up in Orlando, Florida.”
Other dressed-up characters appeared on the first Freaky Friday run, a fundraising effort for the Aloha Dance Studio, at Kukui Grove Center, where the younger performers announced it was Halloween and welcomed the special appearance of the stilted Purple Halloween Princess to grant wishes for young revelers.
Freaky Fridays, a fundraising source for Aloha Dance Studio dancers to travel off-island for competition, continues for the next two Fridays, with a growing number of fall-themed activities and stations.
“Tonight the theme was Disney characters — how many did you recognize?” asked Tiffany Dick of Aloha Dance Studio and Kaua‘i Gymnastics. “Next week it’ll be “Ghostbusters,” and on Oct. 30 the zombies return with the Michael Jackson ‘Thriller.’”
Melissa McFerrin-Warrack of Kukui Grove Center’s management team said Freaky Fridays are a work in progress, with improvements being worked on with each presentation to be compliant with social distancing, large gatherings and other rules surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Don’t use the word ‘trick-or-treating,’” McFerrin-Warrack said. “We’re working out details on how to have everyone enjoy Halloween without the large gatherings of the traditional costume contests and trick-or-treating at the different stores. The safety and health of everyone is still the top priority and, of course, you need to wear a mask when you’re at the shopping center, inside or out.”
Wilcox Health also broke the tradition of its annual Keiki Parade.
Starting Oct. 25, Wilcox Health is inviting people to post photos of keiki and family in Halloween 2020 costumes for a Wilcox Health Virtual Halloween Keiki Parade. Photos can be posted through Oct. 31 on Instagram, #WilcoxHalloween2020.
Judging will done by a panel from the Wilcox staff for a winner in each of the following categories: most creative costume, best family costume, scariest costume, cutest costume, funniest costume and the best incorporation of a face mask into one’s costume.