MUSCATINE, Iowa–With Halloween night approaching, the Muscatine County Conservation Board would usually find themselves hard at work preparing their annual Halloween Hike. A beloved tradition for 31 years, volunteers would dress up and perform skits about wildlife and natural resources along a trail lit by glowing jack-o-lanterns. However, when board members considered social distancing requirements to help slow the spread of COVID-19, they decided that they wanted to try a new event this year. “This year just didn’t seem like a good year to do it,” explained naturalist and park ranger Dave Bakke.
While working to come up with alternatives, Bakke had a clever idea. Each winter, families pile into their cars to drive around looking at holiday lights. Why not create a similar, Halloween themed event? Bakke’s idea grew into Halloween Magic in Motion.
Starting at 6:30 p.m. and lasting until 8:30 p.m. Oct. 30, families can drive through the Saulsbury Bridge Recreation Campground. Various community groups and families have each signed up for a campsite and adorned it with fun Halloween decorations, suitable for young and old alike. At this time, Bakke reports that every campsite will have decorations and that some additional spaces may get gussied up for the event as well. “Right now, all of our campsites have been adopted,” said Bakke. “I’m kind of pleased that all the campsites are filled.”
To promote social distancing, the Muscatine County Conservation Board requests that everyone stay in their cars for the duration of the drive. Out of consideration for other viewers, they ask that cars not stop at each site but instead drive past them slowly.
At the end of the ride, the first 300 children ages two through 12 who stop will receive a free treat bag. In the spirit of supporting the community, the Muscatine County Conservation Board asks that each car that drives through make a donation to either the Muscatine Center for Social Action Food Pantry or the Muscatine Humane Society. County Conservation has posted a list of requested items for both organizations on their website. For the safety of everyone involved, all County Conservation volunteers will wear masks. They also plan to devise a contactless method for receiving the donations and presenting treat bags to kids.
As families and individuals look for fun, socially distanced activities to do this Halloween weekend, Bakke invites them to take a trip through Halloween Magic in Motion. “I think older kids and adults will enjoy driving through and seeing the variety,” he shared.