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Kern County haunts share alternate plans for Halloween

Posted at 9:10 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 00:10:47-04

Planning for Halloween is already underway. But what is Halloween in Kern County going to look like? With fellow California cities like Los Angeles restricting the spooky season's festivities, 23ABC's Kristin Vartan spoke with local haunts about whether Bakersfield will be following in suit.

You've heard of the "Nightmare Before Christmas," well COVID-19 has been the ongoing nightmare before and during Halloween.

Governor Newsom has urged Californians to steer clear of large public gatherings, and Halloween is no exception. LA County public health officials said they are prohibiting Halloween festivities like festivals and haunted houses in light of the governor's guidelines. But how has the pandemic affected local festivities?

The City of Bakersfield provided 23ABC a statement, saying in part, "the city encourages the public to avoid contact with non-household members, to social distance when in public, and to wear a face-covering when social distancing isn't possible. Our goal is to progress through the state's tiered re-opening plan and return to normal as quickly as possible."

Kern County Public Health sent the following statement: "We know that Halloween is a time for people to want to gather. However, we continue to ask our residents to follow the governor's order and not gather, especially with those that live outside your household."

So, what does this mean for events like the Bakersfield Police Department's Halloween Party? Last year it was a hit.

"We ran out of candy, so it was a significant amount of kids and families, and everybody seemed to have a good time," said Sgt. Robert Pair of the Bakersfield Police Department.

Don't be spooked. Pair said they would rather not cancel this year's event completely. They are working on plans to either have a virtual event or something social-distanced outdoors.

"Some of the support staff that doesn't get to often interact with the public, it gives them the opportunity to interact. And it's a lot of fun for everybody. We enjoy it here," explained Pair.

But this oughta give Kern County residents a fright. Community favorite Scare Valley Haunted House will be not be taking visitors this Halloween.

"Even if we got open, even if things changed in a month or two, we weren't sure how much of the public was still going to be nervous about coming outside, enjoying the atmosphere. So we didn't want to put anyone in harm's way," said Mike Ross, the owner, of Scare Valley.

Though not all is lost. A pumpkin patch might still happen in addition to a social media photo series of one of their houses with decorations and actors.