San Gabriel Valley families find alternative, safe Halloween events amid COVID-19 pandemic

MONROVIA, Calif. (KABC) -- This year, Halloween will be unlike any other as Southern California families look for safe alternatives to keep their kids safe on the spookiest night of the year.

Some like the Mellinger family decided to deck out their homes to spread the spooky spirit.

"We love to decorate for the holiday and we (kind of) went all out this time," said Monrovia resident Faith Mellinger.

The family entered their city's home decorating contest and won the "Most Creative Display" prize for their front yard cemetery on Acacia Avenue.

"The boys and their dad actually built the fence, the coffin and most of the gravestones," said Mellinger.

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The City of Monrovia created an interactive map to help people find other competing homes. Other contest categories included best inflatable display, best light display, best pumpkin display and best haunted house display.

Some businesses took part in the contest as well, including the Hop Secret Brewery on Myrtle Avenue, which won Spookiest Display.

Meantime, Nextdoor, the community-based app, is also helping families celebrate by creating a "treat map" that pinpoints which neighbors have haunted decor, pumpkin displays or costume waving parades, all considered COVID-safe with physical distancing.

The City of San Marino has also made adjustments to this year's Halloween festivities, creating a new Halloween scavenger hunt.

"I feel like this is a really practical, thoughtful alternative," said father Matt Kline, whose two toddlers dressed up for the day.

It made mom Cristi Kline feel safe, under the circumstances.

"Less contact with others while getting to wear costumes and seeing some sights around San Marino and seeing others have fun," said Kline.

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Dr. Mark Ghaly provided guidelines for celebrating Halloween and Dia de los Muertos amid the pandemic. Local health departments may have additional restrictions, and he strongly encouraged families to plan alternative celebrations.

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