Events tricky in pandemic, but still on for treats

By Vicky O. Misa | | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star

Plans for some local annual Halloween events may have been thrown for a loop by the ongoing pandemic, but they won't be denied; local Trick-or-Treating is still a go. But due to COVID-19 precautions, attempts to preserve the city's most-beloved annual gatherings have proven to scare up some hair-raising challenges of their own.

For downtown's Boo on Bell, Shawnee Mall's trick-or-treat festivities and the expo's still-new Halloweentown, it appears the city's decked-out ghouls and groans may have to hit the road drive-thru style.


Spectra, the venue management provider for Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, is again hosting its free spook-inspired event — from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

At this point, the specifics of the event's operation are still being nailed down, General Manager Erin Stevens said.

Trick-or-Treaters head for the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center Convention Center during its first Halloweentown event last year.
This year's event has just been cancelled due to  COVID-19 precautions.

“General environment status and feedback from pending booths will dictate if we will be doing the town as a drive-thru or walk-through,” she said. “Either way the event will take place in one of our exhibition buildings this year (not the conference center) to enable proper social distancing.”

Last year — its inaugural family-friendly event — Halloweentown encountered more than 3,000 attendees as it featured food trucks, inflatables, lots of candy and pumpkin carving and costume contests.

“We are looking forward to seeing all of the wonderful and creative costumes again this year,” she said. 

Boo on Bell

State Rep. Dell Kerbs, president of Safe Events For Families (SEFF), said the board of directors has decided to adjust an annual Shawnee event due to COVID-19 concerns.

Residents winning the family costume contest during Boo on Bell in 2015.

Boo on Bell, an event which typically draws thousands of people to the downtown Shawnee area, will be modified, he said.

Kerbs said on Oct. 24 SEFF will host a drive-thru trick-or-treat event.

“This is not the Boo on Bell we have all been looking forward to,” Kerbs said. “We at SEFF want to make sure and keep everyone as safe as possible while still having the freedom to enjoy activities with friends and family. The challenges we face today remind us to care for one another.”

Details on trick-or-treat will be posted to the SEFF social media pages, he said.

“The costume contest will be held virtually,” he added.

On a side note, Kerbs said SEFF also will be making changes to the Christmas parade.

“Details will be released soon,” he said. 

Shawnee Mall

Shawnee Mall Director of Marketing Mindy Mew-Palmer said details of its trick-or-treat event at Shawnee Mall are still being finalized.

“The plan is to have something outdoors, so people can trick-or-treat from their cars,” she said. “It will likely be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31.”

More details may be available in a couple weeks.

Watch for updates.