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Reiman's 'Spirits in the Gardens' event adapts to COVID-19

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune

For the fifth year, Reiman Gardens enlisted the help of volunteers to carve pumpkins for its annual Spirits in the Gardens celebration. Both the carving and the celebration have been adapted this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Join us as we bring you our fabulous fall celebration,” a news release from Reiman Gardens stated. “It will be different this year so we can keep you, your family and our community safe.”

This week, volunteers from Iowa State and the community carved jack-o’-lanterns. The carving event quickly became a tradition after it began in 2016, but this year, volunteers carved while wearing face coverings and social distancing.

Iowa State University student volunteers Connie Chen and Anchi Nguien carve pumpkins for the upcoming  Halloween event "Spirits in the Gardens" at Reiman Gardens Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Ames, Iowa.

Spirits in the Gardens has been expanded to two weekends to allow social distancing of visitors. The event will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then again from Friday, Oct. 30, through Sunday, Nov. 1.

“All tickets must be purchased in advance online using timed tickets to avoid overcrowded conditions,” a news release stated.

Tickets can be purchased at reimangardens.com/spirits; the cost is $6 for members and ISU students, $7 for nonmembers.

The celebration will feature “incredibly detailed, volunteer carved jack-o’-lanterns. Visitors are encouraged to wear costumes with masks that cover their mouths and noses. Face coverings are required for all guests.

Iowa State University student volunteer Anchi Nguien carves pumpkins for the upcoming  Halloween event "Spirits in the Gardens" at Reiman Gardens Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Ames, Iowa.

To maintain safe distances, guests are asked to follow a designated, mostly one-directional path through Reiman Gardens.

On Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. guests can watch Reiman Garden staff as they finalize the setup the jack-o'-lantern walk. Advance purchase of online tickets is required for this event, too, which will not include activities or treats.

Admission to the walk will be limited to 50 people every 30 minutes.

Another jack-o’-lantern viewing event will be held Friday, Oct. 30, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Reiman will hold its Spirits in the Gardens events on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and Oct. 25, and Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day, Treats and activities will be available for kids on these days.

Activities from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. will include: Meet a scientist, flash mob dancing, scarecrows and Simon Says, which will be socially distanced in the lawn.

Carved pumpkins on display for the upcoming  Halloween event "Spirits in the Gardens" at Reiman Gardens Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Ames, Iowa.

A pre-packaged treat bag, with an assortment of candy and real pumpkin treats, will be given to each child as they leave the event between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Activities from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. include the jack-o'-lantern walk, which begins at sunset and will feature hand-carved pumpkins as well as hologram projections, the news release said.

Prepackaged snacks will be available for purchase until 10 p.m. from a local community group. Snacks will include kettle corn and hot apple cider from Center Grove Orchard, Grandma’s brand cookies and bottled water. Cash and credit card will be accepted.

To set up for Spirits in the Gardens, Reiman will close at 4 p.m. on the following days: Saturdays, Oct. 24 and 31, and Sundays, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.