This year's Lakeview Pup Crawl will look different from previous years' with masks and distancing because of the pandemic. Credit: Facebook/Lakeview Halloween Pup Crawl

LAKEVIEW — Lakeview’s traditional Halloween events have been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic, but area businesses are hosting socially distanced and virtual activities to feel the spooky spirit.

Trick-or-treating along Lakeview’s major commercial corridors is canceled, as is the Halloween parade in the Northalsted district, Chicago’s designated LGBTQ enclave.

However, dog owners can compete for the best pet costume award Oct. 24 at the annual Halloween Pup Crawl at FFC Lakeview, 3228 N. Halsted St.

The event will feature a scavenger hunt for pet treats that runs 10 a.m.-1 p.m. along Halsted Street from Belmont to Cornelia avenues. Registration is $5 per dog.

It’s hosted by neighborhood pet store A Dog’s Best Friend, 1909 W. Addison St., with the Northalsted Business Alliance.

Lake Alen, treasurer and acting director of the Northalsted Business Alliance and owner of Chicago Male Salon, said it’s an opportunity for neighbors to support businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Businesses will set up tables with tchotchkes, individually-wrapped treats and QR codes for coupons for people to shop digitally and safely,” Alen said. “There’s also Instagram installations, like hay bales and scarecrows, where pet owners can take pictures.”

Businesses along the Southport Corridor have partnered with local non-profit Friends of Lakeview to create take-home Halloween activity kits and stage socially distanced events.

The activity kits include candy, crafts and virtual music and cooking classes — all from local businesses.

Preorders cost $25 and can be placed online until Oct. 22, and the kits will be ready for pickup Oct. 29 at to-be-announced stores.

Businesses will also have photos of jack-o’-lanterns in their storefronts Oct. 26–31 that kids can find using a map and clues. More details on the scavenger hunt will be announced soon.

On Halloween, kids can stop by Mothership Launchpad, 1351 W. Roscoe St., for a five-minute photoshoot with Angela Garbot Photography.

Kids will get a reusable water bottle filled with candy and one free digital download. Additional photos will be available for purchase from Garbot.

Sessions cost $25 and reservations can be made online.

All proceeds from the activity kits and costume sessions will benefit Friends of Lakeview, which supports the local economy and quality of life.

For those wanting to celebrate Halloween from home, the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce is co-hosting a virtual Halloween improv show.

Actors from Storytown Improv, a child-friendly improv theater at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., and the Belmont Theater District will create and perform a spooky story on the spot, taking direction from the audience.

Kids are encouraged to dress in costumes and help design the show’s setting and shape its story.

The Children’s Halloween Improv Show will be streamed live 1 p.m. Oct. 31 on Facebook.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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