HALLOWEEN SEASON Sophia Hussein helps her 2-year-old nephew Khalil feed the ostriches at the Gilroy Ostrich Farm on Oct. 5. The farm is hosting a Halloween-themed event through Nov. 2. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

If the socially distant trick-or-treat bags that are popping up in stores are any indication, Halloween is going to be different this year.

While the ongoing health emergency has hindered many of the traditional activities, families who want to celebrate the spooky season in 2020 will have plenty to do in Gilroy.

The Gilroy Ostrich Farm recently opened its Halloween Spooktacular, featuring a pumpkin patch, hay maze and other themed decorations, as well as a variety of animals to pet and feed such as ostriches, goats, chickens, sheep and more.

Dan Nelson, executive director of the farm, said this year’s expanded Halloween offerings are a hit, especially with the younger children. It also gives families a chance to take part in a safe, socially distant activity, he noted.

“It’s an opportunity to get away from all the craziness in the world,” Nelson said. “It’s a lot like therapy as well.”

The Gilroy Ostrich Farm, which opened in 2019, is located on Pacheco Pass Highway near the intersection of San Felipe Road.

The farm’s Halloween event runs through Nov. 2. It is open Friday through Monday from 9am to 5pm. To purchase tickets, visit gilroyostrichfarm.com/halloween.

Downtown decorations

Downtown Gilroy is also getting into the spirit.

Nearly 30 businesses along Monterey Street have had their storefronts decked out with skeletons, pumpkins, zombies and other creepy creatures. More than 20 volunteer decorators spread out over the last week to organize the displays. 

Various businesses and organizations donated funds and other items, including Lowe’s Home Improvement, which donated $600 worth of potted mum arrangements that will be given to all businesses that participated.

Downtown visitors are encouraged to stroll Monterey Street and take photos of the displays.

Toni Bowles, founder of The Neon Exchange at 7365 Monterey St., spearheaded the decorating event.

“It’s my platform to say let’s do something for the children and families who might not have the chance to celebrate Halloween this year,” she said. “Let’s turn that negative sentiment into something positive.”

DECKED OUT  Maria Reynoso (left) and Toni Bowles stand in one of the decorated displays at The Neon Exchange in downtown Gilroy. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Pumpkin People contest returns

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the seventh annual Pumpkin People Restaurant Passport Contest. 

Those who purchase a pumpkin dish, item or drink from 10 or more of the participating restaurants will qualify to be entered into a drawing for a two-night stay in South Lake Tahoe. 

Participating restaurants are:

• Baskin Robbins (First Street) — Pumpkin Ice Cream and Toppings

• Bobaloca — Pumpkin Spice Tea and Smoothies

• Cafe 152 Bread Company — Pumpkin Loaf, Pumpkin Cookies

• The Claddagh Pub & Restaurant — Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Martini

• Fifth Street Coffee — Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Pumpkin Bread

• First Street Coffee — Pumpkin Vanilla Latte

• Jersey Mike’s Subs — Pumpkin Cookies

• Kneaded — Pumpkin Bread

• Mama Mia’s Ristorante Italiano — Pumpkin Cheesecake

• The Milias Restaurant — Weekly Special Pumpkin Dessert

• Old City Hall Restaurant — Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin-Chorizo Pasta, Artisanal Pumpkin Pie

• Pineapple Village — Garlic Crispy Pumpkin

• Tealeaf — Classic Pumpkin Milk Tea, Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

• Tristan’s Cookies & Cream — Pumpkin Cheesecake

• Victoria’s Mexican Restaurant — Pumpkin Margaritas

• The Westside Grill — Pumpkin Pie

After purchasing a pumpkin item from a participating restaurant, ask to have a sticker for your passport indicating your participation with that restaurant.

The contest runs through Oct. 31. For information, visit gilroy.org/passport.

Celebrating safely

Bay Area health officials are reminding residents that many commonly celebrated Halloween and Día de Los Muertos activities carry high risk for spreading Covid-19. 

Health officials advise residents to focus on decorating, limit activities to the people they live with, and take part in virtual costume parties or contests.

Low-risk activities include visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins with household members and participating in vehicle-based gatherings.

For families who will be handing out candy for trick-or-treaters, health officials advise to set up individually wrapped bags that are lined up in a way for families to grab and go in a socially distant manner, such as at the end of a driveway.

Residents are asked to avoid large gatherings or participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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