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Fort Smith mayor releases fall holiday celebrations statement

Mayor McGill says he believes residents have the ability to participate safely while making the best decisions for their families.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Mayor McGill released a statement on Oct. 6 regarding fall holiday celebrations in Fort Smith, with an emphasis on Halloween.

In the statement, Mayor McGill said fall holiday celebrations, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, will need to be different this year in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and that he believes residents have the ability to participate safely while making the best decisions for their families.

"If you have COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, are waiting for COVID-19 test results or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters," stated Mayor McGill.

Safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween included in the mayor's statement include:

Lower Risk Activities

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate Risk Activities

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
  • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing

Higher Risk Activities

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.  If you choose to practice this Halloween tradition we encourage you to leave your outside lights on as an indicator that you are providing treats.  If you are not participating with handing out treats, please consider turning your outside lights off as an indicator to trick-or-treaters.
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors

The mayor asks that residents follow the CDC and Arkansas Department of Health guidelines.

Follow the links below for up-to-date information:



On those sites, you can search with the keyword holidays to get more ideas on safe ways to celebrate.

Watch: City of Fayetteville Discusses Halloween Safety Plan

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