It’s been years since the staff at Cross Shores Nursing Home were able to get all the residents outside on Halloween — but on Monday, lined up in chairs, most of the facility’s clients were in the nursing home’s front parking lot, ready to hand out candy to visiting trick-or-treaters.
It used to be an annual tradition. But over the years, it unintentionally fell by the wayside.
First Hurricane Michael created more pressing issues to be addressed. Then, with the nursing home’s population being among the most vulnerable to the disease, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed operations.
But this year, with pandemic restrictions lifting, nothing was going to get in the way of the Halloween fun.
“It’s been a great day,” said one resident as he clutched a bucket shaped like a jack ‘o lantern. “I can’t remember the last time I got to come hang out outside like this.”
Students at Port St. Joe Elementary School were sent home with a flier for the event, inviting them to come trick or treat at the facility on their way to the Ghosts on the Coast event downtown.
As trick-or-treaters arrived, they made their way down the line — pausing to chat about their costumes or tell a quick joke before collecting candy from the residents’ buckets.
Representatives from the facility said that moments for joy and community engagement like the trick-or-treating event are what was missed most during the pandemic.
The nursing home has plans to host a Thanksgiving event and a Christmas party in the coming months.