COVID prompts New Milford to adjust plans for fall events
NEW MILFORD — This is the time of year known for fall festivals and fairs and general outdoor activities.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on group events for safety reasons still in place, many traditional events have been canceled.
The New Milford Parks & Recreation Department has a few solutions, though, to liven up the fall calendar.
It is planning a handful of events, including a drive-through Trunk-or-Treat event tailored to pandemic restrictions.
In addition, a double feature drive-in movie night, a corn hole tournament, a drive-in trivia night and town-wide ghost hunt are all the horizon this month.
“We want to keep all programs up and running following CDC guidelines,” said Laura Murphy, director of programs events for Parks & Rec. “We want to keep them going to give the community something to look forward to and to be engaged, rather than be inside.”
“These provide families a way to still get together safely and enjoy our community,” she said.
Murphy emphasized that the events are focused on being “fun and easy.”
Michelle Hunter, who moved to town in May, described the Parks & Rec activities as beneficial and fun for her family, with safe social distancing.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “We’ve been able to do a bunch of virtual programs … and we will do the ghost hunt” this month.
“Halloween is going to be different for everyone this year,” Hunter said. “The (ghost hunt) allows them something to partake in, to look forward to.”
She said her family made a ghost already and recently purchased a spotlight to showcase the ghost at night.
DRIVE-IN ACTIVITIES & GAMES
“E.T.” will be shown at 6:30 p.m., followed by “Wall-E” at 8:45 p.m.
The field will open at 6 p.m.
The event is collaboration with Bank Street Theater, which will be coordinating the snacks.
“It’s great to collaborate,” Murphy said.
Snacks will be distributed at check-in at the field.
Attendees must wear a mask when using the bathroom and when unable to maintain a 6-foot distance between others.
Attendees are invited to sit outside their vehicles only if they are able to maintain proper social distancing.
Attendees who would like to open their trunk/hatchback and all trucks must park in the rear of the parking lot.
Guests who show a receipt from Bravo Pizza that evening will receive a $5 off each large pizza ordered for takeout for the movie.
Prizes will be awarded for first-, second- and third-place winners in various divisions.
The cost to enter is $50 per competitive team and $30 per social team.
Toby Deleo is coordinating the tournament.
To play, a team must provide its own bags and players must wear a mask when social distancing requirements cannot be maintained.
Prizes will be awarded for the top places.
Registration is required in advance at www.newmilfordrec.com; only 50 cars will be permitted.
Attendees must remain in their vehicles and have installed the “Speed Quizzing Virtual Buzzer” app to play. Only one person per vehicle needs to have the app.
The cost is $10 per vehicle.
Cars will be permitted into the JPCC parking lot closest to Route 7 at 5:30 p.m., with trivia to start at 6 p.m. and will last for one hour.
No one is allowed to leave their vehicle or they will be asked to leave.
Individuals are invited to create one large ghost measuring at least two feet by one foot to be placed outside a home or business.
Registration must be received by Oct. 23 at noon.
The public is invited to drive around town and hunt for the ghosts Oct. 24-25.
A map will be emailed out, and a link to the map will be shared online.
The traditional Trunk-or-Treat event will be offered this year but in a different format.
The event will be held drive-through style to adhere to social distancing requirements due to the pandemic.
Trunk-or-Treat will be held Oct. 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the John Pettibone Community Center on Pickett District Road.
Instead of residents walking up to decorated vehicles to receive candy, participants will drive up to decorated vehicles and receive candy tossed into their trunk or into a bag held out the window.
Participants who receive candy are encouraged to, if possible, place a basket or other box in their trunk so candy can be collected in it rather than dispersed in the trunk.
Residents interested in decorating their vehicles and dressing up for the event are sought.
Those handing out candy from their vehicle trunks will be set up around JPCC and will place candy inside the open trunks (or a bag) as motorists pass by.
“Everyone has different levels of comfort,” Murphy said of how people are handling the restrictions during the pandemic. “This provides an alternative. Nothing is being touched.”
Participants must be set up by 5:15 p.m. and have candy ready to distribute.
Pre-registration is required for those who would like to receive candy; only one registration is necessary per vehicle.
Each vehicle will be asked to open its trunk as they enter the lot so candy can be placed in the trunk. Those who are unable to open a trunk are asked to have a passenger hold a bag out the window so candy can be placed in it.
A volunteer will close each trunk upon exiting the lot.
Participants must remain in their vehicles.
Pickett District Road will be closed off to enter from Route 7. Participants must enter Pickett District Road from the rotary on Still River Drive and enter the JPCC’s entrance near Social Services and the Youth Agency.
Volunteers will verify registration. Those who are not registered will not be permitted.