Events on Oct. 24 and 31 highlight COVID-conscious attempt to bring community together
By Josh Bootsma, information provided by the Village of Lansing
LANSING, Ill. (September 26, 2020) – If 2020 had gone as expected, Lansing residents and visitors would be enjoying Autumn Fest this weekend, the bookend to a summer full of concerts and events at Fox Pointe. But 2020 had other plans for the second full year of Lansing’s event venue, and little has occurred there since the COVID-19 pandemic hit its stride in the U.S. in March. In an effort to recapture some sense of the community spirit that Fox Pointe brought to Lansing last year, the Village of Lansing has released plans for several Halloween-themed events leading up to and on Halloween while fully complying with current COVID regulations.
Scarecrows designed and assembled by Lansing residents, businesses, and other organizations will be on display at Fox Pointe from Oct. 24 – Oct. 31. During that time, the public is invited to come to Fox Pointe and vote on which scarecrow creation is their favorite. Cash prizes will be distributed at the Fox Pointe Trick-or-Treat event on Oct. 31. First place will receive $100, second place $50, and third place $25.
The design contest is open to all families, businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations. Contestants can pick up their scarecrow frames at the Lansing Municipal Center from Oct. 5 – Oct. 12 (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.). There is an entry fee of $10. Finished scarecrows must be dropped off on or before Oct. 17 at the Lansing Municipal Center. The contest form is available online.
Voting on the the best scarecrow will kick off during the Oct. 24 Promenade at the Point event, continue throughout the week during select hours, and finish during the Oct. 31 Trick-or-Treat event where the winners will be announced.
Promenade at the Pointe – Oct. 24
On Saturday, Oct. 24 from 5-8 p.m., the public is invited to a free event at Fox Pointe to experience the Halloween decorations and view/vote on the scarecrows that will be on display. Under the pavilion, food from two Lansing restaurants will be available for purchase, as well as drinks provided by the Village. Costumed attendees will be invited to join a costume parade around the interior of Fox Pointe at 7 p.m. All participants under 12 years old will receive a pumpkin and a bag of treats.
Fox Pointe Director Tony Troncozo said only the front gate to Fox Pointe will be open for entry, and the goal is for people to continue moving throughout the venue and avoid larger gatherings. “It’s designed for people to move along. We’re not going to [make people walk] in any certain way, but it’s designed for that. You’re not going to be able to really sit down; we’re not going to have the picnic table out there, or anything like that. It’s set up so that you go through and look,” he said.
Village Communications Director Ken Reynolds said, “Our philosophy is that people will spend some time there—there’s going to be enough to hold their interest—but it’s not a three-hour show.”
Troncozo said the current vision is to have decorations and scarecrows in the center grassy area of Fox Pointe so that people can circle the area on the sidewalk to view them. He said the Village has new decorations that he is excited about, but wants to keep them a surprise: “I want people to see it and say, ‘Wow that’s really cool!'”
Week-long Fox Pointe viewing hours
Fox Pointe will be open from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Oct. 30 for scarecrow contest judging and viewing of Halloween decorations. Halloween-themed music will be playing throughout the venue and videos will be playing on the new screens under the pavilion.
Trick-or-Treating at Fox Pointe – Oct. 31
From 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. on Halloween, the public is invited to participate for free in Fox Pointe Trick-or-Treating. Tables will be set up throughout Fox Pointe by businesses and other organizations where costumed collectors can visit and gather goodies. Decorations will still be on display, and voting will still be open for the scarecrow contest. The winners of the contest will be announced at the end of the event.
Businesses and organizations interested in having a table at Fox Pointe should contact Tony Troncozo at [email protected] or 708-895-7204. “There’s no fee to be part of it,” Troncozo said, “I’m asking people to bring a table and a couple of chairs, and their only investment would be the candy they’re handing out to the kids.”
Troncozo said that although it will be nice to see Fox Pointe operational again, that’s not the goal of the week-long Halloween celebration. “It’s not about doing something at Fox Pointe, it’s about doing something for the community to share a little hope, to share something we can do together—we didn’t have a parade, we didn’t have any of our Fox Pointe events, we didn’t have any cruise nights. This is just something really for the community,” he said.
As usual, the Village of Lansing has designated 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. as the Village-wide Trick-or-Treating hours on Oct. 31. The Village’s press release about Halloween says, “Residents who are participating are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and to keep group size as small as possible.”
As of this writing, the state of Illinois has not released any specific guidelines or restrictions on Trick-or-Treating. Specific tips and guidelines for how to have a safe Halloween are available on the CDC’s website.
The note near the top of Village’s Halloween press release says the following:
NOTE: As of September 24, 2020, the State of Illinois has not issued any specific COVID-19 restrictions specifically addressing trick-or-treating or other Halloween-related events. The Village will continue monitoring all information from the Governor’s Office and adjust event schedules if necessary.
Troncozo said that masks are recommended for participation in Fox Pointe events, but not required. He said disposable masks and hand sanitizer will be available upon entering the venue, and all volunteer staff and food staff will be wearing masks.
“All the stuff [needed] to follow the CDC guidelines, we’ll have it all out there. We’re trying to be as safe as we can,” he said.
Fox Pointe is located at 18138 Henry St. in Lansing.