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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Hyde Park Kids Can Get Their Spooky Fix At Free, Drive-In Haunted House

A pandemic-friendly haunted house will be held Thursday-Saturday in the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 5200 S. University Ave.

A child receives a shot at last year's haunted house organized by Hyde Parker Linda Pope.
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HYDE PARK — The coronavirus pandemic isn’t scaring away Hyde Parkers from organizing a free, drive-in haunted house for children this week.

Time slots are available 6:30–8:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday for the haunted house, which will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 5200 S. University Ave.

Families with at least one child younger than 16 years old must register for free through Google Forms ahead of time.

Credit: Provided
A volunteer dressed up as a plague doctor poses for a picture during the 2019 haunted house.

The event is kid-friendly and will not feature blood or gore, but it will still be “super scary and fun,” said Hyde Park resident Linda Pope. Pope and her husband are organizing and funding the haunted house.

Music and scary noises will be broadcast through car radios to keep noise down in the neighborhood, and volunteers will not touch families’ cars as they try and scare the children inside.

One of the church parking lots will be used as a staging area, while the other will host groups of about 15 cars at a time for the haunted house program.

The event gives kids an opportunity for safe fun “in this time where everything is upended and nothing seems normal,” Pope said. “We’re trying to bring joy and happiness to their lives through Halloween like they normally would get.”

If this week’s “experiment” goes well, organizers may bring the haunted house back for another weekend before Halloween.

Earlier this month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a “Halloweek” of safe events and giveaways throughout the city.

Trick-or-treating and other “minimal” Halloween celebrations are also allowed if participants follow these rules:

  • Everyone, including people giving out candy, must wear a face covering. Costume masks don’t count.
  • If you plan to give out candy, leave a light on or put up a sign in your window indicating your home is participating in safe trick-or-treating.
  • Maintain social distancing and have hand sanitizer available. 
  • Keep it moving. Don’t congregate in front of one stoop or on the sidewalk.
  • Make sure kids only eat candy after washing their hands when they get home.
  • No in-person haunted houses, which health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady described as “truly spooky” due to their potential germ-spreading.
  • Keep your trick-or-treating crew to six people or fewer. Sticking to members of your household or quarantine “bubble” is recommended.
  • No house parties. “We are more worried about adults indoors than children outdoors trick or treating,” Arwady said.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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