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Central Coast families celebrate fall pumpkin-picking attractions after federal officials give green light to go trick-or-treating

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Angel Russell
The Pumpkin Patch SLO is located at 2315 Biddle Ranch Road in San Luis Obispo and offers pumpkin-picking and a corn maze

This Halloween will mark the second spooky holiday navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. But according to health officials, holiday celebrations like trick-or-treating can be done safely.

Hayley Shaffer picked pumpkins out with her kids at Pumpkin Patch SLO on Thursday. She’s joined with other parents and young kids as part of a parent participation class with San Luis Coastal Adult School.

This year, with COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing and the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci, saying it's safe for kids to go trick-or-treating, Shaffer’s two children are planning on dressing as dinosaurs to hit the neighborhood this Halloween.

“I am ready for everything to be back to normal," Shaffer said. "We are really excited to get out this year, go trick-or-treating and see everyone dressed up and be with friends.”

The class teacher, Liz Wilson, said the fall season has a different air to it this year, with more parents signing up for group classes.

“We are adapting and slowly getting back to normal," Wilson said. " It’s wonderful letting these children explore outside, and it’s also wonderful for the parents to make connections because it has been very isolating.”

Nicole Brandow is the owner of the pumpkin patch. Her family has been farming this land for generations.

“We are an old-fashioned pumpkin patch," Brandow said. "We have all of our pumpkins around a field. You can take a wagon and clippers out and cut them right off the vine, growing in the field.”

Brandow said even if people are nervous about mingling this year with others as the pandemic continues, her pumpkin patch is a wide area that allows for guests to search for pumpkins while socially distanced.

“Since we are a real farm we have a lot of space," Brandow said. "Even when the parking lot is crowded, it doesn’t feel crowded in the patch. You have your own space.”

San Luis Obispo County health officials said their main guidelines for this Halloween are to get vaccinated, wear a face covering and to keep celebrations outdoors as much as possible.

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