Halloween is right around the corner, and East Texas is gearing up for the holiday with several events despite COVID-19.
The following is a list of Halloween events planned around the Panola County region:
- The First United Methodist Church’s annual pumpkin patch supports the church’s children’s and youth activities, including the Wednesday night Logos program, as well as things for students in seventh to 12th grade. The patch is set up on South Shelby Street in Carthage. Hours are Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. and every weekday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Halloween.
- The Shreveport Aquarium will offer a haunted pirate adventure with chills, thrills and of course, gills from Oct. 1 through 31. The aquarium’s month-long Halloween celebration is appropriate for kids of all ages during the day before 5 p.m. and a scarier “After Dark” version will be available on weekends from 5 – 8 p.m. for ages over 12. Shreveport Aquarium is located at 601 Clyde Fant Parkway in Downtown Shreveport. Due to COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, the aquarium is limiting tickets which must be purchased online, in advance.
- The ghosts and goblins will soon be coming out at the Historic Jefferson Railway’s special Halloween Express train, set to run each Saturday in October. The railway, owned and operated by Diamond Don and Francene Rainey in Jefferson, are set to host the special Halloween Express on Oct. 17, 24, and 31. The family friendly train ride is open to ages 2 to 92 years old and will feature narrated day and evening rides. Vignettes will be set up along the tracks, featuring “The Haunting of Big Cypress Bayou.” Tickets are $12 plus tax, and children who ride on an adult’s lap ride for free. Day rides will run at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and evening rides will depart the depot at 8 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance online at www.jeffersonrailway.com or by calling 1-866-398-2038 or by texting (903) 742-2041.
Sunday, Oct 18:
- Bar None Cowboy Church in Tatum will host their Fall Fest from 12 to 2 p.m. There will be games, candy, costumes, face painting, horse riding and fellowship. Kids are invited to wear costumes, and the event is free. Located at 9162 Texas 43 East in Tatum
Saturday, Oct. 24:
- Those looking to toast the upcoming Halloween holiday with a combination of spooky and tasty can head over to Enoch’s Stomp Winery and Vineyard in Harleton for the “Sip-n-Spook Hall-o-wine Walk” set for Oct. 24. Multiple stations will be set up throughout the vineyard and winery, and registration will take place at the tasting room patio. Participants can also choose to take part in the optional “Pumpkin Carving Contest” station for an additional $25 fee. Live music from the band “Covie” will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at the final station on the vineyard’s outdoor deck. Tickets to the Wine Walk are $45 each and can be purchased online at https://www.enochsstomp.com/. The walk is set for 5 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the vineyard, which is located at 871 Ferguson Road in Harleton.
Wednesday, Oct 28:
- Still Waters Cowboy Church will host their Cowboy Carnival from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be free hotdogs and nachos and lots of popcorn and cotton candy. There will be games inside and outside, rain or shine, and a costume contest for kids ages 2-18. Everyone is welcome.
- Cedar Grove Baptist Church will host a Fall Festival from 6-8 p.m. They will have their annual chili cook-off, chili dogs, frito pie, games and lots of candy. Located at 1050 County Road 108 in Carthage.
Saturday, Oct. 31:
- First Baptist Church of Carthage will host a Trunk or Treat from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Vehicles will be parked all around the church building located at 256 S. Market and will pass out candy. Families who would like to participate can park in the big parking lot south of the Post Office and walk across Market and through all the cars to collect candy. The church is requesting no scary costumes. This is a walk-through, not a drive-thru event. For more info call (903) 693-3569.
- Lake Murvaul Marina will host a Trunk of Treat at 5 p.m. Everything will be set up in the parking lot, and anyone who wishes to participate is welcome to come out and bring candy. Come early to get your car decorated and plan on eating supper during the event. For questions, call Cindy at (903) 693-6532
Love Well will host a trick-or-treat event at the Carthage High School from 6-8 p.m. Businesses, churches, groups and individuals will set up tents and tables to hand out candy to the children of Panola County. Each tent will be separated by 6 to 12 feet for social distancing, and hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the event. Masks are encouraged, but not required.
- The Rolling Rhino Skating Rink will host their ‘Monster Roll’ from 7-10 p.m. Costumes are encouraged but not required. There will be a costume contest with prizes going to the best boy costume and to the best girl costume. Located at 2203 W Panola Street in Carthage
- The Beckville ISD Education Foundation will host a Movie Night Under the Harvest Moon at 7:30 p.m. at the high school football stadium, showing “Hocus Pocus.” Gates open at 6:30 p.m. The event will feature the popular basket raffle.
2020 has been an interesting year for the community here in Panola County, with October set to be no different. Though Halloween isn’t cancelled this year, community members should be cautious in their trick or treating plans by following CDC guidelines to keep themselves and their families safe.
For starters, anyone in the community who was been diagnosed with COVID-19 or been exposed to the virus should refrain from both public and private gatherings this Halloween.
For all other Halloween activities, including traditional trick or treating in a neighborhood, the Centers for Disease Control advocates organizers and attendees should use best practices.
This includes making trick-or-treating safer by:
- Avoiding direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
- Giving out treats outdoors, if possible.
- Setting up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.
- Washing your hands before handling treats.
- Wearing a mask.
For trick-or-treaters the CDC recommends:
- Make your cloth mask part of your costume (a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask).
- Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult.
- Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people.
Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Parents: supervise young children using hand sanitizer.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats.
Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
- Indoors and outdoors, stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.