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Health Departments Worry Some Halloween Events May Skirt COVID-19 Guidelines

OGDEN, Utah – Health officials across the state have urged people to stay safe and avoid large crowds this Halloween, even though there is concern that not everyone will follow those guidelines.

Officials with the Weber-Morgan Health Department said they will have people at large gatherings just to make sure.

One big event in Cache County has made some significant changes. Instead of a haunted house, it’s more of a haunted field.

“I think it’s very different, obviously,” said Alexis Needleman, activities director for Utah State University’s Student Association. “We just wanted to ensure the safety of our students, I think is the biggest thing. We have had a lot of oversight.”

Alexis Needleman, USUSA Activities Director. (KSL-TV)

She said a drive-through haunted house is just one of several events that have replaced the annual USU Howl.

“We typically throw a big dance party, have lots of people gathered in one place. But due to the coronavirus, we have obviously had to change a lot of things,” Needleman said.

Health departments said they hoped more people would make those kinds of concessions for the Halloween weekend.

Several dance parties planned for Friday and Saturday across the Wasatch Front were still expected to happen, but many of them have registered with their local health departments and planned to follow guidelines.

Health officials said they wondered if it will be enough.

“With the increasing numbers, we’re feeling less and less OK,” said Brian Bennion, director of the Weber-Morgan Health Department.

He feared current guidelines may need another look.

Brian Bennion, director of the Weber-Morgan Health Department. (KSL-TV)

“It’s a marathon. Right now we’re all feeling it and we’re just trying to do our best to be consistent and to help people stay safe,” Bennion said.

That’s why a Logan dance party is now a drive-through scare with a couple of drive-in movie nights.

“We wanted to really give back to our students and give them an opportunity to get out of their house and still celebrate the howl, but just do it in a different way,” Bennion said.

That’s why the USU Howl is now a drive-through scare with a couple of drive-in movie nights. (USUSA)

The USU Howl will wrap up with a second drive-in movie night outside the football stadium.

Bennion said if you go to one of those big events it’s important to mask up and social distance.

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