With trick-or-treating discouraged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses and organizations are planning creative Halloween activities for local children.

One of the most creative might be a haunted car wash planned by Ed Goff, owner of Fast Eddie’s Express Car Wash on Western Avenue in Augusta.

Goff said the concept was popularized last year in other areas of the country. He said the pandemic presented a good time to try the event at his car wash.

Dressed as a unicorn Harmony Hill, 5, holds out her pumpkin to receive candy during a trunk-or-treat event Saturday in Gardiner. The Gardiner Interact Club, Gardiner Area High School Jobs for Maine Graduates and the Rotary Club of Gardiner sponsored the event, at which children are driven past 21 decorated vehicles and receive candy from costumed volunteers at the parking lot at Everett J. Prescott Inc. at 32 Prescott St. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“They’ll still get our best wash, but during that time we’ll be scaring them as they go through the car wash,” Goff said. “With COVID, we couldn’t think of a better time to get the kids out and adults, too, and have some sort of Halloween event that people enjoy safely.”

Goff said employees and their family members will be dressed up and placed strategically through the car wash, spooking customers as they go through.

The wash will be $19, and $5 will be donated to local food charities.

The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, or until no cars are left in line.

Other central Maine towns are also getting in on the fun, offering Halloween activities and drive-thru or trunk-or-treat events to maintain safe social distances.

Trunk-or-treat events differ from trick-or-treating in that candy is distributed to children from the trunks of vehicles parked at a single location.

AUGUSTA

A drive-thru trick-or-treat is planned for Saturday instead of the usual celebration that spans the length of the city’s downtown. Cars will line up on Winthrop Street before 2 p.m. and drive through to collect candy, according to planners.

The event is being hosted by the Augusta Downtown Alliance and Central Church. It is scheduled to run until 5 p.m, or until the candy runs out.

Participants must stay inside their vehicles and wear protective masks.

Another drive-thru event, hosted by the Kennebec Valley YMCA, is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Augusta Civic Center.

CHINA

The China Village Fire Department is hosting a trunk-or-treat event at its fire station. The gathering is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Town Office is also hosting a trunk-or-treat event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at its parking lot.

There is also a drive-thru trunk-or-treat event scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at China Regional Nazarene Church, 898 Route 3.

HALLOWELL

The Hallowell Police Department is hosting a “reverse” trick-or-treating event. Planners said officers will bag candy and deliver it to children at their homes Saturday. A sign-up sheet and online sign-ups will be available on Tuesday, according to Police Chief Scott MacMaster.

 In addition, the Hallowell Fire Department is planning as trunk-or-treat event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Dressed as ghosts, Yana Montell, left, and Lizzie Kropp give candy to children inside a car during a trunk-or-treat event Saturday in Gardiner. The Gardiner Interact Club, Gardiner Area High School Jobs for Maine Graduates and the Rotary Club of Gardiner sponsored the event, at which children are driven past 21 decorated vehicles and receive candy from costumed volunteers at the parking lot at Everett J. Prescott Inc. at 32 Prescott St. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

READFIELD

Readfield officials and representatives of the Union Meetinghouse are planning their usual Trunk-or-Treat and Pumpkin Path event for Saturday, with some changes.

The event has been moved from the meetinghouse, to the Readfield Fairgrounds. Selectwoman Chris Sammons said the move to the fairgrounds will help accommodate an anticipated increase in attendance.

“The whole reason we moved the venue is because it gives us much more room to spread out,” Sammons said. “We can have everybody a good distance from the next (group).”

Sammons said typically about 200 people attend the event, which sends children on a short path lined with carved pumpkins and trunks filled with bagged candy for them to take.

RICHMOND

The Key Club at Richmond High School is teaming up with Nurturing Roots Childcare Center to host a trunk-or-treat event from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Planners said 20 tables will be set up at the Nurturing Roots parking lot, where children will be able to take bagged candy from the stations.

The event is allowing up to 100 people on the premises at one time, and all participants must wear protective masks.

Also in Richmond, the Isaac F. Umberhine Public Library is planning an online costume contest, and Richmond Recreation is hosting a Halloween house decorating contest, with homes that were displayed last week again displayed this Friday and Saturday.

The Police Department is planning a pumpkin-carving contest for which all submissions need be dropped off by Wednesday.

SKOWHEGAN

At the Skowhegan Drive-In Theatre, a trunk-or-treat is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It is a walk-through event for which planners “carefully selected the day/time of our trunk-or-treat so that we can add to and not take away from other opportunities the kids have to put on their costumes and collect candy, and so we can prepare for our showings of Casper, Hocus Pocus and Halloween that evening.”

A haunted house at the Somerset Masonic Lodge is planned for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, with an admission fee. The first two hours are for children, the second two hours for adults.

WINTHROP

Winthrop officials say they are “discouraging the traditional practice of door-to-door trick-or-treating” due to the pandemic.

Instead, the town’s Bailey Public Library will offer an activity kit, and many town and area organizations will host a “Trunk-or-Treat Drive-Boo” on Saturday at Winthrop Grade School at 23 Highland Ave.

Vehicles with costumed children will start at Winthrop Grade School and travel slowly through the lots behind the school and down through Town Hall Lane. Along the way, booths will be set up where youngsters can collect treats.

Pedestrians are discouraged from using the route, and participants must wear masks, according to planners.

“We recognize that Halloween is usually the only day where we look forward to donning masks, and this year is very different,” said Sarah Fuller, chairperson of the Winthrop Town Council.

“We’re happy so many groups are partnering with us to provide safer, family-friendly activities this Halloween and bring some alternative forms of trick-or-treating to life.”

WINSLOW

The Two Cent Pub at 82 Clinton Ave. is planning an event for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, at which it will distribute candy bags to children. The event is outdoors.

Morning Sentinel reporter Greg Levinsky contributed to this report.

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