COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. (WPVI) -- When this South Jersey community put the brakes on trick-or-treating due to COVID-19, they kicked a creative alternative into full gear.
The Borough of Collingswood formed the "Boo Crew" with its police and fire departments among other community members. A series of Halloween activities culminated in a drive-thru event at the Scottish Rite Auditorium parking lot.
"In Collingswood, Halloween is one of the biggest celebrations we have all year," said Commissioner Joan Leonard. If not for the pandemic, thousands of children would parade downtown on Haddon Avenue.
"Because we could not do that, today, they are the parade," said Leonard.
Community members were thankful for the safe alternative.
"We're not really going house to house," said Jennifer Rivera. "So, we just got together with friends and family in the park."
Linda Ibeneche was also enjoying the socially-distant event with her children.
"Right now we're, you know, just little by little getting out and we're seeing the kids, you know, flourish," she said.
Police officers especially felt the hurt of social distancing, as their prized community activities were canceled one after another.
"For me, it's super important for us to have that face-to-face communication so you can see who I am as a person," said Chief of Police Kevin Carey.
Police departments rely on engaging their community members, particularly the youth. Such relationships can lessen negative interactions in the future.
"Wouldn't ask for any other way. Grew up here, able to give back to the community, it's awesome," said Chief Carey.
Collingswood is now looking forward to its Christmas season, when it will continue to innovate with safe community activities.