Noah and Isabelle at the Spirit Halloween on Garners Ferry Road, checking out costumes for Halloween. Photos by Sheila Paz

Columbia has been buzzing in preparation for trick-or-treaters since Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday gave the “green light” for Halloween celebrations this year.

Dr. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and oversees research done for diseases, including COVID. His announcement at CNN’s State of the Union saying to, “Get out there and enjoy it,” was exciting news for those who did not trick or treat last year. 

Last year, people were advised not to go out trick-or-treating because of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting homeowners associations, churches and schools across the state to cancel Halloween celebrations. This year, parents are looking forward to the holiday.

“As far as Covid, no one had really brought up a concern about it. I think everybody is just ready to get back to normal as much as we can,” said Sandra Gonzalez, a resident of Lake Carolina. It’s a community of about 3,500 homes in Northeast Richland according to Lake Carolina Properties.

Lake Carolina goes all out, according to Gonzales.  She was told she needed to have at least 5,000 pieces of candy ready and to expect houses to be dressed up for Halloween. Gonzales said it will be a bit crazy, and she expects to see children from other neighborhoods taking up this opportunity.

“It’s part of our culture. It’s crazy, I’m glad that they’re doing it because I would be bummed out if they canceled it,” said Gonzalez. 

Tiffany Nettles, a mother of a 9 year old in Lexington County, says she needs to step up her game this year since everyone seems to be excited to go out this year. 

“I got an 8-foot inflatable ghost at my house. Somebody has a skeleton band. There’s just tons of decorations,” said Nettles. 

Lynn Bairefoot, a grandmother in the Concord Park neighborhood in Cayce, said that although her kids are grown, she still likes to see her grandkids come trick-or-treating in her neighborhood. 

“I love, love, love them knocking on my door and seeing all the little costumes they wear. I have had one family come to my house for about four years in a row now, so I’ve had the honor of seeing this precious little girl grow up,” said Bairefoot. 

It seems many parents are excited for what is to come with Halloween, but there are still parents hesitant to go out and celebrate the tradition with door-to-door knocking. 

“I can’t risk her health to celebrate this holiday in traditional ways, so I’m changing it to make it as fun as possible while negating as much risk as I can, which means a home party,” said Dwayla Dallas, single mom of an 8 year old with a respiratory condition. 

Tania Foster is another mom who has her hesitations about going out because her 14-year-old son has asthma. They still plan on going trick-or-treating now that Foster and her oldest son have had their first vaccine. 

“Everyone as a family goes out and then we come back. We usually buy candy and finish it up that way cause we start early. We’re usually the first ones,” said Foster, a resident of Blythewood. 

Foster said it’s all about the experience when it comes to trick-or-treating, which is why they are going out this year. Her family will be taking precautions, such as wearing their day to day face masks. 

What really makes Halloween a treat in the neighborhoods are the children.

In Spirit Halloween, a Halloween retail chain in the United States and Canada, 4-year-old Noah and 7-year-old Isabella were looking for a costume for their mom and their baby brother. 

Noah said he was excited to be a creeper from the game Minecraft, and Isabella was planning to dress as Raya from the Disney Movie, Raya and the Last Dragon. 

This year, Noah is thrilled “to go real trick-or-treating and get candy” and might share his candy with his siblings, but only because mom wants him to share. 

For those who are looking for smaller alternatives to celebrating Halloween, Columbia Mom has put together a list of local events leading up to the holiday.

Some residents in Rosewood are going all out on decorations due to the excitement of trick-or-treaters being able to knock on doors this year. 

Many residents started decorating as early as September. Certain neighborhoods in Columbia started Facebook groups to get parents encouraged to celebrate Halloween this year. 

Noah and Isabella in Spirit Halloween helping their mother pick out her costume for Boo at the Zoo, as well as a costume for their baby brother. 

Noah going around excitedly checking out all of the different Halloween accessories. Many kids in the store were giddy as they walked around the large store looking for the perfect costume.