Old Holiday, New Tricks: Salem, NH, Plans Drive-Thru Haunted House for Halloween

Volunteers and town staff members will transform the parking lot of the Ingram Senior Center, with bags of candy reserved for the kids

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During the coronavirus pandemic, kids everywhere have experienced the disappointment of cancellations, from school graduations to summer camps, vacations and birthday parties.

To avoid yet another disappointment, town leaders in Salem, New Hampshire, are doing everything possible to ensure Halloween won’t be canceled, too.

The town usually hosts a costume party for the kids with hundreds of people inside the high school gym, but this year that’s not an option. Volunteers and town staff members will instead transform the parking lot of the Ingram Senior Center into a drive-through haunted house.

“That sounds like a lot of fun. Even my adult children might like to drive through there,” local Kerri Richards said.

The event is open to all Salem families, but the bags of candy are reserved for the kids in the cars.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance on Halloween activities and how risky they may be amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We encourage people to still dress up and be in Halloween costumes and be in the festive spirit,” said Doug Cole, who is the community services director for the town.

He said there will be music and entertainment, plus volunteers in gloves and masks will be handing out refreshments, prizes and pizza.

“Hopefully [we're] making it a spectacle that they remember, because 2020 is going to be memorable one way or the other,” Cole said.

There’s no official decision yet on trick or treating in Salem - but now, some relief, knowing no matter what happens, families will still enjoy a spooky celebration.

“Honestly, everything has been canceled so far -- holidays, graduations, school -- so just to know that Halloween is not canceled is something we look forward to,” Salem resident Remiely Gill said.

The event doesn’t replace trick-or-treating, if that does happen. It’s just another option.

It’ll be on Tuesday, Oct. 27, and Salem residents should RSVP on Facebook.

Cincinnati father Andrew Beattie couldn’t bear to miss out on Halloween this year, so he created a "candy chute" for safe trick-or-treating during the pandemic, using a 6-foot-long chute made from household materials.
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