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IT LOOKS QUIET NOW — But expect something spookier on West Minnesota Avenue for Halloween night. Although a number of neighbors along the northwest DeLand street won’t take part in trick-or-treat traditions this year because of the continuing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, others say they’re back for 2021. This view of the street looks west from the intersection of Clara Avenue. BEACON PHOTO/NOAH HERTZ

For more than three decades, Minnesota Avenue in DeLand has been the unofficial place to be on Halloween.

Parents brought their children from miles around, residents along the street went all out with decorations and treats, and, on Halloween night, youngsters and cars thronged the normally quiet neighborhood. Minnesota Avenue boasts Victorian-era homes northwest of Downtown DeLand and sits just a stone’s throw from the Stetson University campus.

The COVID-19 pandemic cast the street in an eerie quiet for Halloween 2020, and what will happen there in 2021 is, appropriately for the holiday, sort of unknown.

The Beacon spoke with several Minnesota Avenue residents — most of whom preferred to remain anonymous — who plan to keep things quiet again this year. 

One resident said the neighborhood is changing. Kids grow up, and families are less keen on going all out for an enormous celebration when their children aren’t around anymore to help or join in.

One Minnesota Avenue resident said they chose not to participate this year because of the continued pandemic threat.

“That many children in close contact with each other may pose a risk of transmitting COVID-19 among the crowds,” they said.

With so many Minnesota Avenue residents choosing not to take part in a big Halloween bash this year, another resident said it wouldn’t feel right attempting a blowout alone. 

Any chance of potentially getting someone sick, the resident added, isn’t worth the risk.

“I think we feel like we were hoping this would be the year to get back to the normal thing,” they said. “We’re disappointed, too.”

While COVID-19 transmission is down from summer peaks in West Volusia, children younger than 12 are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, and the resident was concerned about the potential of spreading the virus.

“[It] is such a shame, because many of us have spent a small fortune on decorations and thousands of pieces of candy each year,” they said. “We are as sad as anyone that we can’t go on with the show.”

Nevertheless, some, like Minnesota Avenue newbie Carlos Navarro, plan to make their Halloween spirit loud and proud. 

PHOTO COURTESY CARLOS NAVARRO
BOO! — The Navarro family is new to Minnesota Avenue, and can’t wait to get into the Halloween spirit. Here, from left, Lennon Love Navarro, 10, Carlos Navarro and his wife, Megan Navarro, show offtheir 2019 costumes. Now, 17-month-old Magnolia Hope Navarro is part of the family, as well, and will add to the Halloween ensembles.

When Navarro and his family moved into their historic home on Minnesota Avenue in June, he said, they were quickly informed about the neighborhood’s Halloween tradition.

All the better for the Orlando transplants.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Navarro told The Beacon. “We couldn’t do this in our old house. We lived in a neighborhood that didn’t celebrate it at all.”

Navarro said his family takes COVID-19 very seriously, but they will be outside doling out candy and taking safety precautions. The family annually dresses up in group costumes, he said. This year, Navarro’s wife and two daughters will be witches to his warlock — complete with witchy masks, when necessary.

“We just hope everybody can get out there and enjoy themselves safely,” Navarro said. “They’re kids; it’s a big deal. If they can do a little something, why not?”

Carlos Navarro is a radio personality and actor. He hopes his family’s creative energy can bring some Halloween spirit back to Minnesota Avenue. 

In fact, he’s already planning for 2022.

“Next year: Haunted trail in the back of the house,” Navarro said. “That’s in the works.”

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