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Live Oak plans around pandemic for Halloween

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 9:50 PM EDT
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LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) - The City of Live Oak has canceled its traditional Halloween event this year due to the pandemic but found an alternative way to celebrate the holiday.

The City hosts an annual Candy Carnival, which attracts about 4,000-5,000 people every Halloween, according to Gabrielle Redfern, Executive Director of the Community Redevelopment Agency.

“This year we didn’t feel like it would be the appropriate thing to do,” she told WCTV.

But she and her team are in the planning stages of an alternative, drive-thru event.

“So much has been taken away from our children this year, we didn’t want to take away Halloween,” Redfern said.

The City’s free, drive-thru Halloween celebration will take place in the back of Heritage Park and Gardens on Saturday, October 31 from 7 p.m. to 9.

Live Oak resident Vicki Stout moved to the area about two decades ago. And each year, she goes all out for the holiday.

“When we started doing Halloween, my first year, I realized I had over 400 kids,” Stout said.

She says she starts collecting candy early in the year around February and March, providing trick-or-treaters with items like full-sized candy bars and juices.

This year, she says she’s paying close attention to packaging and offering products individually wrapped and manufacture-sealed to ensure safety.

“People say Halloween is going to be canceled, but they can’t keep people from coming to your house, so I will be there,” she said.

But community members express mixed feelings when it comes to celebrating traditionally this year.

“I feel if they’re canceling, it’s for a reason,” resident Willie Wiggins said. “They’re doing it for a reason, probably for their own good.”

Wiggins is a vehicle detailer in Live Oak and has lived here with his family for more than 30 years.

“I feel the way I feel,” he said. “I don’t feel like the kids are really safe out there doing that no more.”

Community member Peggy Boston usually drives to Atlanta each year with her family to visit Netherworld, a haunted house.

This year, though, she’s staying home. And she says she wishes others would do the same.

“I think it’s irresponsible, to be honest, that people want to have these traditions that have been going on for ages,” Boston said. “It’s just not the right time. If we’re willing to put ourselves in harm’s way intentionally with this pandemic, then we may lose all the things that we hold dear.”

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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