NATCHEZ — Creatures both young and old — witches, ghosts, princesses and more — are celebrating Halloween Saturday.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some are taking precautions as they celebrate the spookiest time of year.
Dr. Lee England, a Natchez physician and former chairman of the COVID-19 Task Force, said while kids are outside trick or treating in the chilly fall air, the risk of them contracting COVID-19 is “vanishingly small” compared to being inside.
Those out celebrating should social distance and avoid going into other people’s houses, he said.
“I think it would be safe to do the traditional Halloween trick or treating,” England said. “I would let my children go. There is only a 20th of the risk of spreading COVID when you are outside.”
Guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health says group sizes should be kept small; avoid large gatherings, especially indoors; and social distancing is still critical to stop the spread of COVID-19.
MSDH also says wearing a mask or face covering can sharply reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 on to others and is strongly recommended whenever you are in public places with others around you.
The annual Natchez Witches Ride, which traditionally takes place around Halloween to raise funds for a spay-neuter program will not take place this season, said organizer Ginna Holyoak.
“We put on our Facebook page maybe a month ago that we were not going to do the witches ride this year because of COVID,” she said. “I am in the process of starting a spay-neuter group for Natchez. Mississippi Spay-Neuter has managed it for over 10 years and we are going to do our new group through the Community Alliance. We will probably do an online fundraising event once we get settled.”
A few outdoor events are happening for Halloween:
The sixth annual Longwood Afternoon Music Fest is scheduled Saturday at Longwood. The gates open at 11 a.m. for an all-day outdoor music festival featuring local artists from a wide range of musical influences.
Artists include “Magnolia Bayou,” “The Anteeks,” “Sullivan’s Hollow” and “Easily Distracted.” There will also be food, beverages, kids’ activities, and arts’ vendors and costume and facemask contests.
All Longwood Afternoon Music Fest activities will be compliant with COVID-19 regulations, said organizer Lou Ellen Stout.
Admission is $10 per person and free for children 10-years-old and younger.
Drive-thru Trick or Treat
Brian Marvel, Natchez Community Liaison, said a kid-friendly drive-thru Trick or Treat is scheduled to take place Saturday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in front of The Grand Hotel along Broadway Street.
Masked and gloved participants are handing out goodie bags containing pre-wrapped candy, hot dogs and juice, Marvel said.
The festivities are being sponsored by Marvel, Aiesha Griffin, LaTarsha Blanton of Loaded Flower CBD Health & Wellness, the Xi Epsilon Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Katherine Fleming of Heavenly House of Hope Career Closet, Anthony Murray of Murray Construction and the Natchez Grand Hotel.