The trick-or-treat Halloween events in downtown The Dalles and Hood River have both been canceled. 

The events, traditionally organized and sponsored by The Dalles Main Street Organization and Hood River Chamber of Commerce, has been canceled in accordance with CDC and OHA recommendations. 

However, The Dalles Main Street organization is offering a self-guided “Spookytown” tour of the city.

With cases on the rise in Oregon and face coverings required in indoor and outdoor public spaces statewide, to keep Halloween safe, Hood River authorities caution against trick or treating.

With a spooky season approaching and COVID-19 continuing to circulate, Hood River officials advise county residents to show their Halloween spirit this year by doubling down on dress-up and decoration and reducing their risk of exposure by avoiding trick-or-treating, haunted houses or large gatherings. 

The Hood River event gathers annually on Oak Street in downtown Hood River to offer local trick or treaters a safe option to stock their candy reserves.

The statewide moratorium on large events and gatherings issued by Governor Kate Brown has not been lifted in time to move forward with the 2020 Hood River Downtown Safe Halloween event. The Oregon Health Authority is recommending that Oregonians avoid traditional door-to-door trick or treating and “Trunk or Treat” events because they are high risk activities for crowding among people outside your household. This recommendation aligns with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which also recommends families avoid traditional trick or treating. 

“We are eager for the return of community celebrations and eager for the return of the Hood River Safe Halloween event, but are at a critical crossroads and must make a plea to residents that they have a moral and social responsibility to continue to practice compliance, vigilance, and an abundance of caution in our community,” said Mike Matthews, Hood River County Environmental Health. “We, as a community, want to maintain a safe environment for our children to celebrate and so recommend celebrating within your family homes and in alternative ways.” 

“Downtown businesses look forward to seeing trick or treaters in the future and empathize with the disappointment this may bring to local kids. They encourage children and adults alike to dress up all month long when shopping and dining downtown,” said Ashley Huckaby May, interim director for Visit Hood River/ Hood River County Chamber of Commerce. 

‘Spooky Town’ Tours

Visitors and residents are encouraged “to brave the Downtown streets of The Dalles for spine-chilling stories of murder, mayhem and ghosts ... along with a few light-hearted tales of the weird and wonderful,” according to the Main Street Program’s website.

The tour is a fundraiser for the Main Street Program, a local nonprofit invested in restoring historic Downtown and helping businesses achieve sustainability and success. To ensure safe social distancing, the event is a self-guided tour based on a map provided by donation. 

“Our tour guides have prepared a series of videos that, once you scan the strategically placed QR codes, will open to tell tale of the haunted and hilarious from The Dalles history. Historic photos, newspaper articles and sounds will bring history to life right on your personal device,” organizers said.

You will need a smartphone or smart device to participate and a good set of headphones is recommended. While there are some free wifi hotspots downtown, you may also need a data plan.

A shorter, family-friendly tour features PG rated stories. The adult tour is longer, with stories that include murder, houses of ill repute and other mature content. 

A $10 donation for purchase of a tour map is requested for the family-friendly tour, and $12 for the adult tour. 

Tours went live on Oct. 9. Payment information and details can be found at on their website, thedallesmainstreet.org/spooky-town-2020.

Curious how this works? Test it out with a free video about the history of Halloween in The Dalles — simply point your smartphone’s QR code reader at the QR code below and tap to follow the link.

Safety tips

As Halloween approaches, follow these tips for safe and fun ways to celebrate the holiday with your household. COVID-19 cases have increased around holiday gatherings including Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. “This Halloween, be extra mindful of your choices and choose low-risk activities,” said a press release.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is recommending that Oregonians avoid traditional door-to-door trick or treating. 

Below are a list of low-risk activities:

Visit an outdoor pumpkin patch. Remember to wear a mask if you cannot maintain physical distance and avoid crowded activities like hayrides.

Attend an online costume contest with friends.

Watch a scary movie with your household.

Carve pumpkins with people in your household.

Decorate your home with spooky décor.

Drive around your neighborhood to look at decorated houses with your household.

“If you dress up in a costume, be careful to plan a costume that allows you to wear a face covering,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “Halloween masks will not protect you or others from coronavirus. vWearing a cloth or disposable face mask that fits snugly and covers your mouth and nose is still required while wearing a costume, no matter how scary or silly your costume is.”

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