The two top elected officials in Dallas have a big request headed into the Halloween weekend – do not trick-or-treat or host Halloween parties.
“I think we’re all tired of [the pandemic] but I think it’s important for everyone to understand that we cannot afford to let our guard down,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, during a joint, remote news conference with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Jenkins pointed to a recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Dallas hospitals, and modeling from UT Southwestern Medical Center that indicates daily coronavirus cases in the county could reach 1,200 by Thanksgiving, as evidence that caution is key to helping to gain control of the virus in the area.
“The last thing we want is for our kids to be out, encounter a bunch of other kids, maybe someone who doesn’t know they have the virus,” Judge Jenkins said. “We want them to be safe.”
Jenkins and Johnson each noted that they planned to carve pumpkins with their children on Halloween nights, something neither family has ever attempted to do, as an example of how they will personally adjust their Halloween routines.
“I just want to let everyone know that there are ways you can still have fun, and your kids can still have a blast, and not actually put your neighbors or yourself at great risk, and that’s all we are asking,” Johnson said, flanked on his couch by his two young sons, who were dressed as a Ghostbuster and Darth Vader, respectively. “We are not trying to be killjoys here. We’re not trying to deprive anybody of any fun, but we have a priority here in the city. I know Judge Jenkins has one for the entire county to keep everyone safe. And that is what we are trying to do. We want everyone to survive to enjoy many, many more Halloweens.”
UNT Health Science Center Epidemiologist Dr. Diana Cervantes said teens and people in their 20s are at higher risk of getting COVID-19 this Halloween because of a few factors.
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"Halloween is on a Saturday, so you might have more likelihood of there being parties and get-togethers, and that is what will potentially drive transmission up -- those types of big events, like parties, where people are crowded together," she said.
She said outdoor, socially-distanced Halloween festivities are lower-risk.
Four YMCA branches will host outdoor drive-thru Trunk or Treat events.
They had to pivot this year because of the pandemic and hold a much smaller gathering.
The first Trunk or Treat event was held Thursday evening at the Semones Family YMCA in Dallas.
"The YMCA is all about healthy mind, spirit and body. We want to make sure we're paying attention to what our local leaders are saying," said Tricey Love, executive director for the Park South Family YMCA and Irving community.
Masks are required, but registration is not. The upcoming events and locations are listed below:
- Drive-Thru Trunk or Treat at the Moorland Family YMCA at Oak Cliff on Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.
- Trick or Treat After Hours at the Waxahachie YMCA on Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.
- Sunny South Harvest Festival at the Park South YMCA on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 2-5 p.m.