Mayor Keller: ‘I do not con­trol Hal­loween’

City can­cels most of its spooky events this year

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - BY JES­SICA DYER JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

Al­bu­querque has tem­po­rar­ily bid adieu to its Zoo Boo and shut the door on its haunted house.

Mayor Tim Keller said Wed­nes­day that the city is can­cel­ing nearly all its Hal­loween events this year due to COVID-19 and that trick-or-treat­ing “is not some­thing we’re re­ally en­cour­ag­ing.”

But Keller — re­spond­ing to what he said have been “a ton of ques­tions” his of­fice is field­ing about Oct. 31 — said his in­flu­ence over hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties is rel­a­tively re­stricted be­yond call­ing off city-spon­sored events.

“I do not con­trol Hal­loween; that is not in the pow­ers of the of­fice of the mayor, so I don’t want to give any in­di­ca­tion that some­how the mayor is mak­ing calls on all sorts of de­tails around Hal­loween,” he told a news con­fer­ence. “But we are go­ing to give guid­ance, I hope folks heed that guid­ance.”

He rec­om­mended that Al­bu­querque res­i­dents cel­e­brate only in so­cially dis­tanced, COVID-19-safe man­ners and pay at­ten­tion to guid­ance com­ing from the state and the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

The CDC has an on­line list of what it con­sid­ers low-, mod­er­ate- and high-risk Hal­loween ac­tiv­i­ties. It cites house­hold pump­kin carv­ing and “vir­tual” Hal­loween cos­tume con­tests at the low end, and “tra­di­tional” trick-or-treat­ing and hayrides with peo­ple from out­side your house­hold on the high end.

The mod­er­ate-risk ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude so­cially dis­tanced, small-group, out­door cos­tume par­ties and “one-way” trick-or­treat­ing. That would mean lin­ing up in­di­vid­u­ally wrapped can­dies out­side for kids to take in a so­cially dis­tanced man­ner, such as at the end of the drive­way, ac­cord­ing to the CDC site.

Should fam­i­lies choose to trick-or-treat, Keller said, he wants them to be “ex­trasen­si­tive” at homes with the lights off or other signs they are not par­tic­i­pat­ing and to re­mem­ber that Hal­loween masks gen­er­ally “don’t count” for COVID-19 pur­poses.

The pan­demic prompted the city to call off most of its nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties. Nixed this year are the “Boo at the Zoo,” city-or­ga­nized Hal­loween fes­tiv­i­ties at Old Town, and Al­bu­querque Fire Res­cue’s haunted house on the West Side. The city will, how­ever, carry on with its “Trunk or Treat” pro­gram at Bal­loon Fi­esta Park.

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