GR dad makes changes to trick-or-treating plans amid pandemic


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — No matter what you decide to do, Halloween is going to feel different this year. 

Most counties in West Michigan have similar guidance based on what public health officials advised. 

They suggest homeowners mark six-foot lines in front of your home leading into your driveway or front door, wherever you’ll be passing out candy for trick or treaters. This, experts say, will help space out children and their families to keep them safe and homeowners as well. 

If you plan on taking your children out trick-or-treating, they say you should keep your distance from other groups and avoid gatherings at homes. 

One Grand Rapids father, Tommy FitzGerald, says it’s important to make these changes to allow children the opportunity to still have a fun and safe Halloween. 

“They can still have their fun, you know. We don’t have to take away the fun out Halloween. We just kind of have to maneuver around COVID and make sure that the kids get what they deserve and that’s a killer Halloween,” FitzGerald said. “Let them have a fun Halloween. I think that’s the best we can do with the knowledge that’s afforded us right now.”

Jack-o’-lanterns, spiders and skulls decorate homes along College Avenue. The decorations look the same but Halloween feels different — maybe even spookier now amid a pandemic. 

“It’s such a weird time we are living in, but I know that I can celebrate Halloween this year in a safe way that’s fun for everybody, based on the knowledge that’s afforded us,” FitzGerald said. “I see a huge opportunity here for parents across the board to connect with their kids in a better way.”

According to a survey conducted on LendingTree, 71% of parents say they plan to spend more on their children this Halloween to make up for other missed celebrations this year. 

More than the money, FitzGerald is looking forward to spending time on his daughter. 

“Instead of going, ugh COVID, it’s like ruined everything. You know what, maybe I would have never walked with my middle schooler trick or treating but it’s my opportunity to get out. It’s my opportunity to spend a little more time with them,” FitzGerald said. “You got to take the good with the bad folks. If you look at everything from a different viewpoint, and just try to make it the best you can get with then sometimes things are a little bit better than we did before.”

FitzGerald, also a chef, plans on hosting a socially distant walk through style trick-or-treat station in his garage where he will pass out individually wrapped pickles, caramel apples and other pre-wrapped goodies. 

“We have the time. We have the time to jazz up, you know, the front porch. We have the time to maybe make treats a little differently this year, we have the time to spend with our kids. Why not take that opportunity and run with it and have a great time,” FitzGerald said. “Just be sure to wash your hands. Put on a mask. Put on a cool costume. Don’t be coming to my house with a horrible costume, and make sure to have fun with it.”

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