'We put it on spooky steroids.' Major Halloween events return to metro Detroit

Posted at 6:56 AM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 06:56:57-04

(WXYZ) — We're approaching Halloween, and parents can expect this year to feel more familiar than last.

There are more events, and many more families celebrating.

According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 65% of Americans plan to take part in Halloween activities this year. That's up from 58% in 2020 and close to the 68% from 2019.

Consumers are expected to shell out $10 billion on Halloween-related items this year. That's a big jump from the $8 billion in 2020.

Muralist Lisa Littell is responsible for the ghosts, goblins and witches popping up on 35 businesses around the City of Berkley. She says there's more demand for her skills this Halloween and she can feel the excitement this year.

"People in the community are so incredibly excited," she said.

Mike McGuinness -- with the Berkley Downtown Development Authority -- says the series of family-friendly events are meeting public demand for traditional fall fun.

"We put it on spooky steroids this year. Metro Detroit loves Halloween. I sure do as well. And so we're working to meet where the public is, where the people are," McGuinness said.

The city is hosting free movie nights every Thursday, a downtown scavenger hunt, a trick or treat stroll the day before Halloween and a community party called the Bookley Monster Mash. Lots of fun with COVID-19 precautions.

"We've done the events with that in mind. So that way it can be a lot of outdoor activities, social distancing," he said.

The Detroit Zoo is also welcoming visitors back for Zoo Boo - a merry, not scary Halloween celebration. This year the entire zoo will be open.

While there's unlimited fun. Capacity is limited because of the pandemic.

Zoo Boo is limited to 4,000 visitors a day and the upcoming Wild Lights is capped at 6,000 a day. But Wild Lights is expanding to 40 nights, up from 24 in previous years.

Masks are still required for indoor spaces and social distancing is encouraged.

Schools are also creating more space for Halloween celebrations this year.

At Bingham Farms Elementary School, Principal Joanna McKinney says this year, only a couple of parent volunteers will be allowed in classrooms. And the 300 student sing-along in the gym is out. It will be zoom-based with kids in their classrooms. But there will still be costumes and community.

"Any place that we can provide a sense of security and home back here at school allows everybody's brains to relax, to be able to get the get to the learning that we need to happen," McKinney said.

Celebrations are back in Detroit too with Halloween in the D. The city is hosting candy drive-up stations at all police precincts and some fire stations and recreation centers.

Masks are required and social distancing will be followed at all of the 21 sites. Candy is distributed to individuals in cars. These are drive-thru events. No walk-ups are allowed.

The city is also posting guidelines for Halloween activities based on low, moderate and high risks.