A fall tradition for families and businesses alike in Beatrice has been canceled due to current health guidance and local recommendations with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Main Street Beatrice and the Gage County Emergency Management team announced the cancellation of the Night of the Great Pumpkin event in a press release Monday evening.
Main Street Director Michael Sothan said a scaled-back version of the event is still being planned throughout the month, with family movie nights at Beatrice Movies, and a coloring contest at the local elementary and preschools.
The typical event has kids trick or treating at businesses along Court Street. Sothan estimated that 3,000 people attend each year.
“The Great Pumpkin itself will still be making its way around to the schools,” Sothan said. “Every year, the Great Pumpkin goes and visits, so to speak, and the kids guess its weight and some other things. We have a little contest with that.”
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According to Public Health Solutions, many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading COVID-19. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, PHS said to not participate in in-person Halloween festivities, and do not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
PHS listed several low-risk Halloween activities, including carving and decorating pumpkins with members of your household, decorating, and holding a virtual costume contest.
Participating in traditional, door to door trick-or-treating, and going to a haunted house or pumpkin patch are all listed as higher risk activities, according to PHS.
City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said the Beatrice Health Board and City Council have had no conversations about regulating Halloween.
“In theory, it would be possible,” Tempelmeyer said. “I don’t know what those restrictions would be.”