CAMDEN, NJ — From trunk-or-treats to a spooky skate party and even a haunted house, Camden is pulling out the stops to safely celebrate Halloween this year given the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think even outside COVID it’s important to make sure our kids are safe when they’re out and receiving candy,” said N’Namdee Nelson, school board vice president and founder of non-profit Rising Leaders Global. “I encourage people to take precautions, make sure they’re masked up, practice social distancing and keep their hands sanitized. I also think it’s important that parents join the kids, the more adults we can have present the better.”

Forest Hill is leading a “non-candy drive” outside the elementary school, at 1625 Wildwood Ave. Donations, which are collected from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., will go toward a Trunk or Treat Parade on Oct. 30 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. 

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“Dare 2 Scare Weekend 2020,” hosted at 1656 Kaighn Ave. in Camden, will feature a Haunted House Oct. 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. 

“I’m a Halloween and haunted house enthusiast, I go and visit them every year. Some people didn’t operate this year but the ones that did open up I headed there right away to scout and see how they were operating,” Kipp said over the phone. “When I saw how they were handling safety protocols it made it feel it was possible here too… In this area there aren’t too many things for kids to do, so I wanted to continue providing a chance for that."

Kipp said hand sanitizer will be available, social distancing will be enforced (especially indoors) and everyone in attendance must wear a face mask. 

Prior to the haunted house, Dare 2 Scare will host the following setup days from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m.  - at which food and snacks will be provided ahead of the scary festivities over the weekend. A trunk or treat will also be held Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. The line up for the haunted house begins at 6 p.m. 

For information call 856-209-6065.

Parents for Great Camden Schools (PGCS) will also host the following trunk or treats Oct. 31:

  • Pixar Theme: Noon to 3 p.m. at McGuire Gardens, 2000 Westminster Ave.
  • Disney Fairy Tale Theme: 2 to 5 p.m. at Von Neida Park
  • Tim Burton Theme: 3 to 6 p.m. in North Camden (300 Elm St.)
  • Marvel Theme: 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Farnham Park

PGCS said treats will be pre-packaged and temperatures will be checked at entry. For information call 856-203-3224 or visit greatcamdenschools.com.

The City of Camden will host a “Haunted Drive Thru” on Oct. 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. Treats will be provided for attendees, who must be Camden City residents and register beforehand, while they remain in their cars. The drive-thru will start at Pearl Street and Delaware Avenue, and concludes at the Aquarium Loop Drive. 

Mayor Frank Moran and city officials also announced two free Halloween skate parties Friday from 3 to 6 pm. And Saturday from Noon to 3 p.m. The events, which will be open to the first 150 Camden City residents to arrive, will be held at Millennium Skate World, 1900 Carman St. 

Face masks and social distancing will be enforced at both events Giveaways at the drive-thru will be available while supplies last. 

For information call 856-757-7095 (or 7210).

A community "Harvest Celebration" Trunk or Treat will be held Oct. 31 from Noon to 4 p.m. at the Ferry Ave. Library's parking lot. Goodie bags will be hand out for youths 6-12.

To donate non-candy items, go to the Camden Education Association (CEA) office at 840 Cooper St., Suit 106.

St. John Church Ministries will also host a Community Outdoor Movie Night on Saturday at 6 p.m. - with a screening of "Black Panther." Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes and decorate their cars based on the Marvel superhero played by beloved actor Chadwick Boseman, who died earlier this year.

The event, which will include giveaways, live music and free snacks, will be held at 220 North 27th and Saunders Streets. 

As far as how Halloween will be celebrated this year in Camden, spokesman Vincent Basara said, “It’s going to be the parents call what they decide to do.”

“People may decide not to answer door when you knock this year. We also see small localized events and some complexes leaving candy for folks in the main office,” Basara said. “It’s not your traditional Halloween and it’s just important to keep in mind the increase of Covid. We want people to be aware of the CDC guidelines and the health department guidelines and keep them in mind if they do decide to trick or treat.”

To read the CDC’s Halloween guidelines click here.

Have your own Halloween event in Camden City this year? Email details to srodas@tapinto.net.

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