ST. LOUIS – COVID has families turning away from trick-or-treating this year and taking part in a St. Louis tradition instead – Boo at the Zoo.
People are advising folks to make plans early if you plan to take your children to the annual event. Reservations for both times and days are booking up.
“We are filling up and we have extended Boo at the Zoo another couple days,” said Mike Macek, director of the Saint Louis Zoo.
During a typical year, as many as 8,000 people a night will walk the pathways at the zoo to take part in all the frightening fun. Because of the pandemic, they have to limit the crowds to 4,000 guests.
People young and old love to dress up in their favorite costumes. Halloween masks are not permitted, though. You have to wear face coverings that prevent the spread of germs and there’s social distancing.
Those health safety guidelines are why Tracy Britt brought her children.
“I do feel safer here,” Britt said. “This year we will not be going trick-or-treating, so I’m appreciative that we have this.”
Melissa Davis said, “You don’t want your kids grabbing candy or get candy where there are germs or something, so we feel like this is something safe for them.”
There’s entertainment including a juggler, lots of displays, many are whimsical and not too scary for the little ones.
Megan Rolwes comes with her family every year. She had high praise for the decorations.
“They’re like 10 out of 10. I love them. Every year they get better and better,” she said.
Brayden Bixler, a young zoo-goer, said, “They’re, like, so good; I don’t know how they put them up so fast.”
Tickets cost around $8 to $10. COVID-19 has left many people unemployed. On Saturday and Sunday, the zoo has Halloweekends and it doesn’t cost a penny.
“It’s completely free and similar things we have some special enrichment for the animals, all the displays you see at night you see in the day,” Macek said.
Because of the pandemic, everyone always needs a reservation for the zoo for any event even just a visit.
Boo at the Zoo is not a trick-or-treating event but kids who take part in it do will receive a gift bag as they leave.