A lot of things have changed in 2020 – from the way we work and play to how we shop. But it is human nature to want to retain a sense of normalcy. And celebrating Halloween – especially the trick or treat portion of it – can help children in the current situation. There’s no doubt that you will have to change or modify some traditions. But just like drive-by birthday parties, we can still go trick or treating in the middle of a pandemic with a bit of planning.
Before you decide whether to go trick or treating at all, you need to consider a few factors. First of all, think about what’s happening in your community. Are new cases spiking or dwindling? What are the local regulations regarding Halloween this year? The next thing is your family’s risk factors. If you or your child has a compromised immune system or is at higher risk for Covid-19, then maybe trick or treating is not such a good idea after all. The same applies to children with allergies and other health issues.
If you do opt to go out and enjoy a traditional trick or treat night, plan for it. Here are a few tips to stay safe that help everyone in the community:
Masks are fun! Oh and gloves too.
2020 will forever be known as the year of masks. But guess what? Masks are totally cool for Halloween! If your child’s costume is an animal or superhero, you don’t have to worry about getting them to wear their masks. Just get one that matches their outfit or has the nose and teeth of their animal costume and you’re set. Even better if the outfit has matching gloves or you can convince them to wear it anyway.
If you’re the one handing out candy at home, try to minimize contact as much as possible. One way to do this – and enforce social distancing – is by using contactless treats. Instead of handing out treats to children, put them in small bags or cups for them to grab on their way. It minimizes crowding on small porches and the chances of germs spreading when everyone uses the same bag for candy.
Grab the kitchen tongs
Whether you are handing out candy or taking it, a pair of kitchen tongs is a great idea. Again, it lets you give/take candy without getting too close to anyone else. It might be too cumbersome for really young kids but that’s what you’re there for!
Alternatives to traditional trick or treating
You can also opt for a less traditional way to celebrate the typical trick or treat events such as setting up tables with candy at the end of your driveway. Children can grab a piece without bumping into each other and still maintain distance. Another option is to do what’s called a spooky secret Santa. Everyone in the neighborhood creates and gifts a spooky treats box to another house.
You also put a new twist on tailgating by choosing to trunk or treat as a neighborhood. Everyone sets up small bags of candy in the boot of their car and parks it at the end of the driveway. Kids can get their treats without getting germs as part of the deal!
Essential safety tips
No matter which way you go, you still need to follow essential safety guidelines. For instance, do not eat any candy you get on the go. Wait till everyone gets home, wash your hands, and then dive into the goodie bag. Keep hand sanitizer handy – pun intended! Use it liberally in between stops at various houses to prevent infection. Remind your kids not to touch their faces as well. If possible, try to maintain a safe distance from other trick or treaters and avoid large crowds on the streets.
Finally do keep in mind that we still have to follow non-pandemic-related safety tips. Make sure you and your children are wearing something bright and reflective on your clothes or as part of your costumes. Try to avoid high traffic streets in the neighborhood. You can also start your trick or treating a bit earlier or later than usual to minimize contact with others.
Create your own trick or treat event in the backyard
If you’re not interested in going out for Halloween, you can still have a fun evening at home. Turn off the lights and have a fun candy scavenger hunt in the backyard with flashlights. For older kids, you can also give clues to where certain goodie bags are hidden throughout the house. Get dressed in your scar costumes and share a few spooky stories. Spend the evening baking some scary cookies or other fun treats.
Trick or treating around the community is not the only way to enjoy Halloween!