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Johnston: Community groups team up for Halloween event

Happy October.
It seems like just yesterday we were in going about our normal lives back in March.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that it seems like I’ve lost a few months.
I have a hard time writing the date sometimes because many of the typical time markers haven’t happened or have looked different, and I sure didn’t think we would be dealing with all these different norms going into the holidays, but it looks like that will be the case.
Halloween is traditionally the start of the holiday season for me. I know that not all people celebrate the holiday the same, but it still shows up on the calendar and leads the way to the November and December holidays.
I get very excited when the stores fill their aisles with candy and spooky decorations pop up in the neighborhood.
As with other holidays, there are many traditions that go with Halloween (it happens to be my favorite holiday so we play it up in the Johnston household). We trick or treat. We decorate. We even have Halloween parties.
But Halloween is going to look different this year, which is difficult.
Traditions bring predictability, or a sense of regularity and order that people thrive on, especially children.
This year more than ever, we are going to be dealing with a break in traditions that may be a struggle considering how much unpredictability there has been for these past six months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance on holidays and how we can safely celebrate.
As expected, these suggestions differ from what our norms have been. Because of this, the city has decided to cancel Halloween MAINia because of crowds that typically gather in such a tight space on Main Street.
The mayor asked a group of community partners to come up with an alternative to Halloween MAINia that would align more closely with the CDC recommendations.
Considering how important community and traditions are to nurturing family development, I was very happy to jump on board with this planning process.
Clark County Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, along with Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation, The Greater Clark Foundation with Legacy Greenscapes, and the Winchester Design Studio, have teamed up to bring you the Winchester Trick or Treat Trails.
This event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 31.
Think about the candy part of Halloween MAINia, but spread out between two to three parks. You will walk on a one-way path from table to table getting candy and goodies from our community businesses, organizations, agencies, churches and more.
At the end of that path, you will have the choice to enter to Haunted Trails (if you dare), where you can walk through a spooky path with ghosts and goblins and other scary sights.
If you would rather avoid the spooks and scares, you can just keep on the one-way path and exit.
There will also be some great opportunities to take photos with your family and make some memories, even during these crazy times.
If your business or organization would like to sponsor a table, collect candy to donate to the event or just want to know how you can get involved, please contact winchesterdesignstudio@gmail.com or call me at the Extension Office at 859-744-4682.
We are so excited to be a part of connecting Winchester at a time when connections are what we are craving.

Shonda Johnston is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 859-744-4682 or by email at shonda.johnston@uky.edu.