Families are being challenged to think outside the box this year with Halloween and recreate the holiday to be fun and safe.
Since the CDC advises adapted celebrations this year—as most past Halloween celebrations are considered high risk—families have taken it upon themselves to make Halloween a safe holiday without compromising on the fun.
From candy chutes to hazmat suits, nothing is off the table this year.
Annie Linebarger's kids are too young to trick or treat but that hasn't stopped her family from participating in Halloween this year. Linebarger said her neighborhood, Old Enfield in West Austin, is a popular one for trick-or-treaters and her family usually expects hundreds of children.
"I would love to just pass out candy and wear masks and gloves, but I think that you just get too close to too many people," Linebarger said. "I actually don't think very many people will come (this year)."
Linebarger said her husband originally bought a hazmat suit to pass out candy, however, instead she and her husband plan to set up a decorated table on their porch with pre-packaged bags of candy so contact is kept to a minimum.
"I think that this is a good way I can provide something, and whether or not people will come, there'll be candy there," Linebarger said. "It is what it is, so we will just make the best of it."
Many families are following in the Linebarger's footsteps, setting up tables with packaged goods. For even less contact, some families are gluing popsicle sticks to candy and sticking it in their front yard.
Better yet, some families have made their candy part of the decorations.
Laura Nattinger's family intends to wear masks, socially distance and only trick-or-treat at houses that are doing the same in their Brushy Creek neighborhood. In fact, her son even has a mask to match his King George costume from Hamilton.
Additionally, themed masks seem to be a popular choice this year.
Nattinger's family is taking trick-or-treating to the next level with a candy chute placed in one of their upstairs windows. While they are still working out the kinks and plan to decorate the chute, Nattinger said her kids are excited about the new take on Halloween.
"The kids are jazzed about it being something new and different this year," Nattinger said. "All the creativity is fun."
The Nattinger family doing a test run of their candy chute, which they plan to decorate with lights.(Laura Nattinger)
Even if your family decides not to pass out candy, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate from home. Activities like carving pumpkins, watching Halloween movies, decorating the house and scavenger hunts are considered low-risk activities by the CDC.
Linebarger said she doesn't think this Halloween needs to be a disappointment for children and with a little bit of positivity, they might enjoy it just the same.
"I'm disappointed in a lot of things: not being able to go on vacation and travel and spend time with my friends and family, and this is just one of those things," Linebarger said. "The best thing about kids is with their mental capacity, I mean they're happy any way that you can provide that sort of positive attitude and activities for them. I think kids kind of have it easy in some ways—it's the parents that are struggling."
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The Texas French Bread Bakery, located on 2900 Rio Grande Street, has been completely destroyed after a fire erupted on Monday night.
The Austin Fire Department responded to the fire just before 11 p.m., where they arrived to see flames coming from the roof of the bakery. Firefighters fought the fire for about an hour before the roof collapsed.
While no one was injured in the fire, firefighters say the historic building was completely totaled.
Texas French Bread just went up in flames pic.twitter.com/agXqKN3c00
— Jordan (@AimIessFriend) January 25, 2022
AFD determined that the fire was accidental and caused by mechanical failure. AFD said the damages amounted to $1.6 million total: $1.1 million in structural damage and $500,000 in damage to the contents of the bakery.
This year, Texas French Bread will celebrate 40 years of business. Before the bakery occupied the building, it was the Rome Inn, a music venue that hosted 1970s artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Austin's first major league team is ready to extend its reach with a new collaborative sports complex The Pitch, an Austin FC destination packed with local food, beverages and Verde fervor is set to open in Northeast Austin in February.
The Pitch, a collaboration between Austin FC and Karlin Real Estate, among other entities, will be located in the 50-acre Parmer Pond District, which already hosts the club's practice facility St. David's Performance Center.
Dubbed a "true destination" for both soccer fans and the community, The Pitch will consist of multilevel shipping containers designed by Mark Odom Studio that will carve out into a 1,200-seat stadium complete with a soccer pitch made of turf, food and beverage options and a five-acre "Parmer Pond" featuring jogging trails.
Made from multilevel shipping containers, The Pitch will include food and a 1,200-seat soccer pitch made from artificial turf. (The Pitch)
“The launch of Karlin’s new food and entertainment experience will greatly enhance the Parmer development while perfectly complimenting St. David’s Performance Center,” Austin FC founder Anthony Precourt said. "The Pitch... will offer a strong variety of food options and gathering spaces for guests who will utilize St. David’s Performance Center and Parmer Field for a variety of events.”
The Pitch project lead Dave Greeley, who helped come up with the concept, is a former president of Austin FC parent company, Two Oak Ventures.
“The vision behind The Pitch at the Parmer Pond District is to be a first-of-its-kind sports, dining and entertainment destination,” said Dave Greeley, The Pitch project lead and Team Orbis president. “This will be an unmatched experience for Parmer Austin tenants, Austin FC and club supporters, and the community."
With its proximity to the practice center, the venture hopes to contribute to the growing "soccer city" of Austin during Austin FC matches and youth games with the Austin FC Academy hosted at the St. David's Performance Center.
The Pitch hopes to converge both community and club interests with Austin FC. (The Pitch)
In addition to the soccer pitch, stadium and pond, The Pitch will provide a foody experience made by the creative team behind Austin staples like Fareground and Easy Tiger. The complex will offer local bites including:
- Ranger Burger, which offers beers and burgers made from highly-coveted Wagyu beef direct from Ranger Cattle in East Austin
- Ga Roti, which merges flavors from Northern Vietnam with the culinary techniques of France to create a unique rotisserie chicken joint
- Taco Flats, a local taco chain serving Mexico City-style tacos, micheladas and more
- Sand Bar, which fulfills its namesake with beauty cocktails, local beers and a sand volleyball court
- Coffee Club, a coffee shop and bakery
- Corner Kick Bar, the soccer-focused main bar of The Pitch complete with "tunes, TVs and (a) beer garden"
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