Interview with Virginia Filicetti from the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.
What is your position within the Chamber of Commerce?
Marketing and Events Manager
Why did you feel it was important to still have Spooktacular this year?
We felt it was important to keep the livelihood of Spooktacular as normal as possible for families within the community. A lot of communities are doing virtual or drive thru trick-or-treat events, but we wanted to give kids the chance to show off their costume outside of their home or car. That’s where we came up with the idea to have a socially distanced, outdoor costume contest at the Egyptian Theatre. Families were still able to come to Downtown DeKalb, wear their costume, get a prepackaged bag of candy, and support the Egyptian Theatre by purchasing tickets to watch Hocus Pocus.
It was also important to us to give Downtown DeKalb businesses the opportunity to advertise to the community safely. In addition to candy bags, each adult got a bag sponsored by T-Mobile with information, coupons, etc. from downtown businesses that agreed to participate.
What steps did you take to make sure people would be safe?
To keep everyone safe we decided to have candy at one location instead of trick-or-treaters going to each storefront. The Egyptian Theatre was the perfect spot! We and The Egyptian Theatre staff packaged 500 individual candy bags with gloves and masks in place of businesses handing out candy. Before the event we marked socially distanced spots in line for families to wait their turn to get their picture taken. And of course, everyone was required to wear a mask unless getting their photo taken.
How did you feel about the community response?
Hosting new events like this is always hard to predict what the community’s response will be. Many of the parents that came thanked us for giving their kids the chance to participate in a normalized Halloween activity. Some of the families even told us they were going to shop at downtown stores and pick-up dinner on the way home from a DeKalb restaurant. Seeing the community excited to attend and support local businesses is what makes coordinating unique events rewarding.