CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Department of Public Health this week released guidelines for celebrating Halloween amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and among the things the guidelines touch on are pumpkin patches.

CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas visited one pumpkin patch that is changing its game plan to play by the new rules.

READ MORE: Thieves Keep Using Postal Master Keys To Steal Mail: How Are They Getting A Hold Of Those Keys?

Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up is on two acres at Elston Avenue and Le Moyne Street just west of Goose Island.

“You’re really in search of the best pumpkin,” said Frank Monroy of Goose Island Holiday Pop-Ups.

Getting it set up is no easy task, but Jack’s has pulled it off the past few years. They’ve drawn big crowds with fall-themed treats and boozy drinks.

“This year we have to adjust our business plan to what’s going on,” said Marc Bortz of Goose Island Holiday Pop-Ups.

Bortz said COVID-19 nearly canceled the pop-up, but the show will go on.

“We have to be focused on the sale of the pumpkins,” he said. “We don’t have any liquor. We won’t have any of our typical amusements or pig races.”

“It’s going to be more of a walk and less of a party,” Monroy said.

READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Wednesday Starts On A Chilly Note

The team said they’ll only allow 100 people at a time at the two-acre site.

The state’s new guidelines out this week said masks and social distancing should be enforced at pumpkin patches.

“We control the number of people in there,” Monroy said.

Instead of a corn maze, there will be a corn walk this year. There are no wrong turns, so everyone can find an easy way out and stay six feet from other groups.

“And it’s really about going in there finding a pumpkin and finding an easy way out,” Monroy said.

It’s a change of season that comes with more change than usual. Organizers said their budget is down more than 50 percent.

“”We’re struggling like everybody else,” Bortz said, “so hopefully, we can find a way to turn a profit – but that’s not really what it always about.”

You can only stay for an hour and a half tops, enough time to snag the perfect pumpkin.

MORE NEWS: View Live Radar


Tim McNicholas