With Halloween quickly approaching, the City encourages residents to continue to follow public health guidelines during this fall tradition by being creative with safe ways to enjoy!

Iowa City will celebrate its official Trick-or-Treat night on Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, from 5:30 until 8 p.m. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson County Public Health has provided some suggestions for enjoying Halloween while staying safe.

Creative ideas for a safe and spooktacular holiday
  • Consider celebrating virtually. Health experts warn that traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating is a higher risk activity in the midst of a pandemic. Since the virus spreads from person to person, consider these alternatives:
  • Create a festive yard display for the neighborhood to enjoy.
  • Host an online costume or pumpkin carving party.
  • Host a small, outdoor costume party with a limited number of attendees. Remain 6 feet apart and wear masks at all times. Avoid sharing objects.
  • Hold a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt, with your household members in or around your home
Tips for trick-or-treating responsibly
  • If you are sick or been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or is symptomatic, stay home.
  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose throughout the evening. Halloween masks do not offer appropriate protection from COVID. Avoid door-to-door contact.
  • Limit your trick-or-treating group to your household members. Stay at least six feet away from those who don’t live in your home.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and use it frequently.
  • Avoid busy streets and areas that do not allow for 6 feet of distancing.
  • Don’t stop at homes that are not following safety guidelines, such as mask wearing and social distancing.
  • If you are new to Halloween, note that not all homes participate. Trick-or-treaters should respect homes with their lights off, as it may be home to someone who is either more vulnerable to COVID-19 or is not interested in participating.
Tips for households to participate safely
  • If you are sick or been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, do not participate.
  • If you want to provide candy, make sure to turn on your porch light, and light the area you would like to direct trick-or-treaters to, away from your front door.
  • Ask trick-or-treaters to hold up their bucket or bags while you gently toss a treat their way, maintaining a safe boundary between you.
  • Set out individual bags or cups on a table in the yard or driveway, ready for contactless pick-up while you wave from the garage or porch.   
  • Arrange to maintain six feet from trick-or-treaters by creating a well-lit barrier line of pumpkins or other decorations between you and the trick-or-treaters.
  • Use hand sanitizer often and wear your mask over your nose and mouth.

City-sponsored Halloween events

The City is hosting some virtual events and more this year, so that Halloween fun can be observed as safely as possible.

Halloween at the Drive-In

On Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, Iowa City Parks & Recreation will be hosting Halloween at the Drive-In at Mercer Park’s parking lot. A double feature of Halloween movies will be presented, with the first showing aimed at a younger audience. Gates will open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. showing of Hotel Transylvania and Goosebumps will follow with gates opening at 8:05 p.m. for the 8:35 p.m. show. 

Space is limited, so registration is required. There will be a maximum number of vehicles allotted for each movie and all cars must be pre-registered to enter.

*Registering for one movie does not ensure your space at the other. If you are interested in attending both movies you need to register for both. 

Register here for Hotel Transylvania

Register here for Goosebumps

Virtual Halloween-themed Library series

The Iowa City Public Library is offering a series of events throughout October:

Sunday Fun Day: Mosaic Pumpkins

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 – 2 p.m.: Everyone loves the classic mosaic tissue paper pumpkin craft for Halloween! We'll provide the materials you need to make a pumpkin or jack-o-lantern stained glass decoration for the window. Registration is required.

Sunday Fun Day: Day of the Dead Skeleton Puppet

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 – 2 p.m.: Dia de los Muertos is just around the corner! We will provide everything you need to create a moveable skeleton puppet with instructions, and you can also follow along with this tutorial from art blogger Red Tent Art. Registration is required.

Date of publication

Tuesday, September 29, 2020