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Harrison Boulevard residents prepare for a busy Halloween

National and Idaho medical experts say trick or treating is safe with smaller crowds due to it being outdoors. They still recommend masks and vaccination.

BOISE, Idaho — As the most popular trick-or-treating spot in Boise prepares for Halloween, not everyone is celebrating the same way on Harrison Boulevard.

For the second straight year, Harrison Boulevard will not be closed on the holiday to accommodate large crowds of trick-or-treaters, according to North End Neighborhood Association Board Member Julie Madsen.

But that doesn't mean trick or treating is canceled, however. Houses will participate as they see fit. Recent advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci includes trick or treating as a low-risk activity.

Former St. Luke's President and CEO Dr. David Pate told KTVB that he agrees it can be safe with a few precautions in place.

"I wouldn't congregate kids that don't live together. If they're not wearing masks I wouldn't put them in close contact. But for them to be out there trick-or-treating, if they're wearing masks, I think it's great and they're good to go," Pate said

While Idaho continues to watch COVID-19 transmission rates and hospitalizations rise, not everyone is comfortable with unregulated crowds. 

Some homes on the North End, particularly on Harrison Boulevard, see upwards of 3,000 to 4,000 trick or treaters a year, which is just too much for some.

"I'm not sure we're comfortable encouraging that level of trick or treating," Harrison Boulevard resident Will Varin said. "But we'll see where things are at in a couple of weeks, but that would be the concern. Just the concentration of people coming at our doorstep."

For those who are not comfortable with trick or treating, the North End is still encouraging people to enjoy the Halloween decorations. Many North End homes have already begun setting up their yard for the holiday in preparation for the North End Halloween Tour.

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