When I was a kid they used to drill tons of rules into us about not getting hit by a car on Halloween: Don’t wear a mask that blocks your vision; wear something reflective; hold someone’s hand at all times; don’t cross the street.
Turns out, there’s a far simpler solution than deputizing sugar-crazed seven-year-olds to be their own personal traffic wardens: Just get rid of the goddamn cars, which is what Seattle will do this year thanks to a speedy application process for residents who want to designate car-free blocks. The city is also, unexpectedly, recommending that you watch the films Carrie, Coco, and Get Out.
So! Is your street going to get barricaded for a few hours on October 31? Well, that depends entirely on you and your neighbors.
Rather than assigning Trick or Streets from on high, SDOT will let residents apply for permits. There are a few criteria: It can’t be an arterial street (if there’s a line painted down it, it’s probably arterial); local, emergency, and delivery access must be maintained; it can’t be on a bus route; and it can’t be longer than one block. (But there’s probably nothing preventing you from teaming up with neighbors on other blocks.)
To apply, you just fill out a quick “block party” form before the deadline of October 29, and then once you’re approved, you’re responsible for putting up your own barricades and “STREET CLOSED” signs. That last step is maybe a little weird—the street’s not closed, it’s actually more open than it was before, so something like “NO MOTOR VEHICLES” would be more accurate. And you’ll also need to post King County Public Health signs instructing people to keep distant from each other.
And how, exactly, does one distribute candy to children from six feet away? The city does not offer any guidance on that point, but there’s this great new technology called “tables” and “bowls” that allows you to set down a reservoir of candy and then take a few steps back while still admiring everyone’s creative costumes.
The Seattle Department of Transportation has also released two lists of recommended Halloween movies, one for all ages and the other for adults. I’m happy to see The Witches made the cut, alongside The Addams Family (a good start to any Anjelica Huston film fest); but I do advise including the movie House on any Halloween viewing lists in the future.
And if, for some reason, you’re not in the mood to fill out permits and put up barricades and signs on Halloween, there’s no shortage of local and online events to attend, including drive-through trick or treating at the Duwamish Longhouse. Check out the full EverOut listings here.