AUSTIN, Texas — Halloween is just over a month away and it is still unclear exactly how it will look because of COVID-19, but some Austinites have found creative ways to take matters into their own hands.
Luke Keyes is taking a socially distant Halloween in his North Austin neighborhood to the next level.
"Right now we probably don't want humans to hand-deliver candy, so why don't we use a robot for it?" said Keyes.
Keyes started building Arty the robot eight years ago, not knowing that it would be the key to delivering a safer Halloween during a pandemic.
"Usually I take my garage and I fill it full of science stuff, blinking lights and so on, and have the neighborhood kids come by," explained Keyes.
But now the candy will be rolling to the children on a tray carried by Arty the robot. It was something the children were not used to, but they eventually got the hang of taking the candy from the robot and saying trick-or-treat.
Halloween is Keyes's favorite holiday, so he is going all out! He also constructed a candy cannon that shoots over 6 feet.
"I love trick-or-treating," said Keyes. "To me, I like trick-or-treating a little more than Christmas because at Christmas you give gifts to your friends and family; Halloween, you give gifts to everybody."
On the other side of town, Adam Butler and his neighbors on Ford Street near Zilker Park are giving in a different way this Halloween.
"Normally on Halloween, we have a huge street party," said Butler. "It started organically but then it grew."
Butler said every year hundreds of trick-or-treaters fill Ford Street on Halloween. Combined, he and his neighbors spend thousands on the festivities, but this year they are using that money for an even greater good.
"We're going to raise money for the Central Texas Food Bank," said Butler.
They are canceling their street party and raising $5,000 for the Central Texas Food Bank but they need your help. To donate, click here.
"Take that candy money and turn it into food," said Butler.
An Austin Public Health spokesperson sent this statement about Halloween:
"It is hard to predict what the spread of COVID-19 will look like by Oct. 31. Right now, Austin-Travis County is in Stage 3 of our Austin Public Health risk-based guidelines, which provide recommendations for personal behavior. In Stage 3, individuals should avoid all social gatherings, which would include gatherings outside of your household such as going door-to-door for Halloween. However, if our community continues to practice preventative actions such as masking, social distancing, avoiding gatherings, and practicing proper hygiene we may be in a better place by Oct. 31, and in Stage 1 or 2 of our Risk-Based Guidelines, which allow for some small social gatherings. It is also important to remember that as we enter the fall months that COVID-19 won’t be the only respiratory disease spreading, we will also see flu season start to pick up so we need everyone six months of age or older to make plans to get their flu shot by the end of the October to prevent a potentially devastating surge of two diseases at the same time. For more information on flu, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/Flu."
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