Scavenger hunts and spooky films: How to have a fun yet safe Halloween in Laurel amid pandemic

Falling on a Saturday with a full moon shining overhead, Halloween this year was setting up to be special. Now with concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and various restrictions in place, Halloween festivities in Laurel will really be like no other, as organizers are working hard to create safe and healthy spooky events during these strange times.

“It’s exciting. Our department typically organizes several events every week,” said Divina St. Peter, recreation program specialist for the city of Laurel’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “We have been at a standstill since March. Now, how can we offer Halloween events safely? It was fun coming up with the ideas.”


The department started brainstorming ideas, St. Peter said, with three eventually taking root.

The first is a witch’s scavenger hunt. From now until Oct. 26, participants can look for witches throughout the city by completing 10 riddles to discover the witches’ location. Participants must take a photo of each witch and submit all 10 to parks@laurel.md.us to receive a free one-time boating pass for the 2021 season.


As trick-or-treating is discouraged in Anne Arundel, Howard and Prince George’s counties, the department has decided to bring treats to the city’s residents. From Oct. 27 to 29, the city’s two trick-or-tractors, decorated and playing holiday music, will travel different routes beginning at 4 p.m. to deliver candy. Parks and recreation staff, and perhaps the mayor and council members, will hand out treats to those standing along the route.

The final event is the Take-away Treat Spooktacular on Oct. 30. A scaled-down version of the city’s annual Spooktacular event, children are invited to wear their costumes and parade around the Robert J. DiPietro Community Center to receive treats before exiting the building.

“It is used to be a three-hour social event with a magic show and carnival games,” St. Peter said. “Now, it is an opportunity for kids to still dress up, get their candy and safely do so as we, the city, enforce the guidelines.”

All three events were selected with hopes to offer something festive for everyone, St. Peter said.

“There are different comfort levels,” St. Peter said of how people are feeling during the pandemic. “If you want to do something on your own or just with your family, you can do the scavenger hunt. If you are weary of crowds and prefer to be outdoors, there is the trick-or-tractor and, if you are OK with people, come to the Spooktacular.”

The free events are open to everyone, with no registration needed, St. Peter said. Masks are required.

While trick-or-treating is discouraged on Oct. 31, Mayor Craig Moe released the following tips to ensure all goes smoothly should you venture out:

  • Remain in household groups, keep physical distance between other groups and use flashlights or glowsticks to be seen.
  • Treats should be left outside.
  • Trick-or-treaters should wash hands or use sanitizer between homes and after touching surfaces and objects.
  • Face coverings should be worn instead of, or in addition to, a costume mask.
  • Parents should inspect candy.
  • Participating homes should have a porch light on. Nonparticipating homes should leave lights off.
  • Avoid large gatherings, parties and events.

For more information, go to cityoflaurel.org.

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