Residential assistants on Wartburg’s campus have begun planning events that follow CDC guidelines to allow students to enjoy the Halloween season but also be safe. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new safety guidelines regarding Halloween activities. These guidelines ask for social distancing, making masks a part of costumes and avoiding community activities when possible. 

Hayden Stone, an RA and third-year and music education major, has begun to plan a “haunted campus tour” to allow students, especially first years, to get to know campus and organizations. 

“The main reason why we wanted to host the event was to get first years and all students involved on campus with other students as well as with organizations,” Stone said. “It’s a really easy time to feel alone especially in a pandemic. We wanted to create an opportunity for everyone to relax, make friends and be introduced to ways to be involved on campus.”


Student organizations have also decided to host their own events, including Wartburg Esports. Kyle Hoffman, fourth-year psychology major and executive team member for Wartburg Esports, has helped plan a virtual Super Smash Bros. competition on Saturday, Oct. 31. 

“You can stay in your room spending time with your roommates and playing video games,” Hoffman said. “You don’t have to be good either; everyone is welcome. It’s an opportunity to have something fun to do on Halloween while keeping everyone safe at the same time.”

The Waverly community has also begun to follow CDC guidelines as they canceled their annual Jack O’Lantern Night, where families visit businesses downtown and can trick-or-treat.

Travis Toliver, executive director for the Waverly Chamber of Commerce and Main Street program, said with the number of families that have previously attended the event, the Chamber of Commerce did not want to put anyone’s health at risk. 

“We typically see anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 kids at that event, including parents or whoever is going in with them,” Toliver said. “We just felt like having that many people in a downtown area that we couldn’t ensure, say, social distancing and that posed a concern to us that we couldn’t overcome.”

In place of Jack O’Lantern Night, the Chamber of Commerce will host a virtual pumpkin carving contest. While Waverly features no haunted houses, Waterloo and Evansdale both are home to popular attractions, such as Heart of Darkness and Harris Haven Funeral Home. 

Gary Hall, owner of Harris Haven, said he and his team are following all guidelines and encouraging patrons to practice social distancing within the attraction as much as possible. 

Hall isn’t the only owner who is working to keep volunteers and patrons safe. Kevin Schults, owner of the Heart of Darkness, has limited the number of volunteers and customers. The city of Waterloo has canceled trick-or-treating and Schults wanted to ensure people could still participate in other Halloween traditions, according to an interview with KWWL news.

Whether students decide to stay on campus or to participate in local activities, Toliver asks students to think about their community.

“We all have to do our part in trying to keep our community safe,” Toliver said. “ I ask them [students] to be responsible, to try to stay safe and think about their community that they will be returning to.”

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