BOISE, Idaho — Halloween is right around the corner. Despite the safety risks that come with large gatherings, residents on one of Idaho’s most frequented streets for trick-or-treating says Halloween this year is not being canceled; rather, they came up with another option that aims to give families a fun experience, while keeping them safe -- and helping childhood cancer survivors.
For all the masked little ghouls and goblins, a socially distanced scavenger hunt is in the works for Harrison Boulevard and surrounding homes.
“Each home is going to be encouraged to decorate however they’d like, and provide us information about, maybe, a special decoration that they have at their home, so that we can direct some of the community children to maybe look for certain items," said Julie Madsen, Halloween Walking Tour organizer.
For example, if kids got a directive like this: "What did the sign say that the skeleton was holding?" Madsen says, "The kids could find the skeleton holding the sign and write down what the sign says."
If you’ve never experienced a Halloween on Harrison Boulevard in Boise before, let’s just say if you’re not a fan of crowds, you might find it a tad spooky.
“Potentially 20,000 people on our street for one night, really for about three hours," said Madsen.
But with the pandemic this year, those crowds, mixed with the passing out of candy -- presents a public health risk.
“On our particular street, the overwhelming consensus was that folks, um, did not feel comfortable handing out candy, or having that traditional Halloween," said Madsen.
But in order to prevent a big gaggle on October 31, they’re making the scavenger hunt a week long event, starting October 23.
“We felt that that really gives us an opportunity to distance," said Madsen.
But there’s a bigger cause related to the idea as well.
“Folks that are able, and are feeling like they’d like to do something extra to support kids, can make a voluntary donation to Camp Rainbow Gold," said Madsen.
Camp Rainbow Gold is an Idaho nonprofit that offers oncology camps for kids with cancer diagnoses.
“Because having a child with cancer is a lot like living in a pandemic every single day. You don’t know what the future will bring," said Madsen. "And so Camp Rainbow Gold just seemed like a perfect charity.”
Visit northendboise.org to learn how to donate, and to learn more about the North End Halloween Walking Tour and Scavenger Hunt.
“Hopefully a lot of communities will improvise in this way," said Madsen.
And her hope... is coming true. The West End neighborhood of Boise is organizing a “Halloween Walkabout," where individually-wrapped candies will be placed in stations along a parade route, with social distance encouraged.