ENGLEWOOD — There will be no flash mob dancing or in-person candy giveaways at the annual Dearborn Street Safe Walk on Halloween.
No worries, say some business owners on Dearborn Street.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic ruined Englewood’s extremely popular Halloween get-together. The event draws thousands of costumed families and even an unexpected show — like last year’s elderly bride and groom who suddenly tossed away their walkers and began dancing like energetic teens.
As businesses, nonprofits and churches give away candy, the event also draws a good number of people-watchers who can sip some wine and socialize at nearby restaurants, giving the businesses a nice boost.
This year, after the Olde Englewood Village Association had to take the event off the calendar, some are coming up with something entirely new to do.
“We are sorry, but it was for the health and safety of our residents, visitors, and our businesses,” said Nancy McCune, the association’s board secretary.
McCune said the organization is sponsoring a home decorating contest. Residents can submit a photo of their home for a chance to win up to $200 in gift certificates from member businesses.
“Residents and visitors will be able to view the entries and locations on our website/app, complete with a photo and map of the locations,” McCune said. “People can drive by and vote online for their three favorite Halloween-decorated homes.”
There’s also a category for Olde Englewood Village member businesses to show their creativity and spirit of the holiday by decorating for the contest.
“Just like the homes, these businesses will have a place on the website/app where people can vote for their favorite Halloween-decorated business,” McCune said. “The winner will get a certificate of their winning status to proudly display in their place of business.”
Decorations must be Halloween theme, no political theme or signs may be entered. All entries must remain decorated through Oct. 31, and must be in the ZIP codes 34223, 34224, 33947 and 33946.
Beginning Oct. 1, a business or home can enter a photo on the Old Englewood Village Association website until midnight on Oct. 24. Voting will open to the public on Oct. 26 and run until 8 a.m. on Halloween.
On Halloween Day, the winners will be announced and prizes delivered. Each person can vote on their device one time for the three favorite homes and three favorite business entries.
“OEVA will buy a $50 gift certificate from all members who have goods and services for sale to be used as prizes,” McCune said. “Our intent is to bring buyers to our members.”
Prizes for homeowners are $200 in gift certificates for first place; $100 in gift certificates for second place and 10 winners will receive $50 each in gift certificates.
“We have a lot of good prizes so we really hope to see some creatively decorated homes,” she said. “We are hoping families will use different Halloween themes. We want people to have a lot of fun going to these homes and judging their favorites.”
For more information, visit EnglewoodFL.org.