With September ending today, we all know what that means – Spooktober is here! Although not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Halloween, it is still a wildly popular holiday that generates a ton of money for businesses. However, this year will be unlike any other because most of us will still be living under quarantine and taking COVID precautions. So what does that mean for a holiday that is all about showing up at other people houses and taking stuff they hand us ? Well, a lot actually. The CDC issued a warning telling parents not to take kids trick or treating in the traditional sense and offered some suggestions to lower risk this Halloween season.
Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:
• Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
• Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
• Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
• Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
• Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
• Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
• Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
The website goes on to list moderate level risk activities, like one-way trick-or treating (more on this below), keeping any Halloween parties small and preferably outdoors, with social distancing or finding a haunted forest to walk through. That last one would be amazing, but I don’t know how many of us have haunted forests at our disposal. The high-risk activities are basically every way we celebrated Halloween in the past. You can read them all here, the only one that I would like to highlight further is the CDC warns about wearing a protective mask under a costume mask in that it really could be harmful for breathing. If you want to know the risk level in your area, here is a color-coded map that tells you.
Okay, enough buzzkill about how you can’t celebrate, let’s talk about how you can! LA is one of the counties under major restrictions and almost all public activities cancelled this Halloween, so we’re going to need to find a lot of alternatives to celebrate properly. Apparently, people are going all out for their Halloween décor, especially outside for drive-by Halloween sightseeing. I’m already seeing décor going up in our neighborhood (we did inventory last weekend and this weekend we begin construction on our haunted house *squee!*). People are still dressing up, but the majority have gone back to making their costumes and planning a home-based family party – there are plenty of fun ways to celebrate. But the question of passing out candy is possibly the trickiest (yes, I meant the pun). The only thing I can tell you not to do is join my family’s Sunday Zoom call where we have, repeatedly, decided throwing bags of candy at unsuspecting trick or treaters is how we want to handle it. I’ll list a few ways I’ve heard. I can’t site all my sources because some I literally overheard:
1) Create a scavenger hunt for your kids instead of sending them trick or treating. The CDC even listed this above. Create a list of items the kids have to look for and when they complete the list, reward them with their own pot of candy prize that you put together yourself
2) One way trick or treating – hang candy along your property line, whether on a fence or clothesline. One site suggested having candy “caught” in a spiderweb near the start of your yard. A spiderweb would be perfect for our haunted house theme this year, we don’t get a lot of trick or treaters anyway. Make sure the candy is in bags and easy to detach. Don’t forget a few non-candy items for the kids that have allergies and diet restrictions.
3) Someone suggested using a fishing rod to dangle the candy bag in front of kids. Clever, yes. But please only do this if you know how to handle a rod. We don’t need any princesses entangled in your line.
4) And the most popular mode of candy transference this year: the Candy Chute – a tube attached to poles that allows the candy giver to slide candy down to awaiting kids:
We need to celebrate something in 2020 and I’m delighted to see so many people finding a way to do so during quarantine. My kids preparing their decorations for their spot in our home is the most excited I’ve seen them in six months. If you have any other ideas, please share them. We don’t have a lot to look forward to, so let’s makes the most of what we do have.
Photo credit: Toni Cuenca, Valeria Boltneva and Kevin Bidwell from Pexels and NeONBRAND from Unsplash
I’m not giving out candy this year. Sorry kids but safety first ! I know there are people who will take their kids out, but I think it’s risky. Just buy your own kids some candy and do some fun stuff at home.
I’m glad I’m not alone. I felt a bit like the halloween grinch, but i’m not handing out candy in this era of covid. For my safety and for theirs.
What’s a Halloween???
In this economy??? 😉
I’m immunocompromised, very ill and love Halloween and always have. I was worried about decorating the house this year as that’s usually a sign that you give out candy. Really happy to see this, I feel better about decorating and not doing candy now.
I also love the scavenger hunt idea for families with kids, it could even be a photo scavenger hunt where you take pictures of what you’re supposed to find while out walking or driving (a witch on a broom, an angry pumpkin etc etc) and then you give them a small pot of candy when they complete it. You could make it more or less competitive depending on ages/siblings etc.
I hope families take this opportunity to be really creative, it can be fun *and* safe – Halloween is about death but it’s not actually supposed to kill people!
A Halloween scavenger hunt is a great idea! I wonder if one can find black eggs hahaha
TIME TO CREATE SOME NEW TRADITIONS!
It’s already canceled here in Los Angeles, the mayor said nope!
My county is pretty rural and I live in the only town that has houses close together and is walkable. We buy 1,000 pieces of candy each year and usually run out by 7:30. There are LINES of kids waiting at each house because they come from the rural towns to my town to trick-or-treat. The police have to close down our streets every year.
I am NOT doing it this year. No way. We have a lot of Republican Karens who refuse to wear masks in my neck of the woods.
Already hung some fairy lights, hanging more soon. Having ingredients shipped and delivered for scary snacks (bloody finger sammis, cheese, bacon and puff pastry wrapped jalapeno mummies, green toxic dips, bloody and disgusting test tube dips, ect. (I have three French Presses and the beakers are perfect for serving), I’ll fill our injectable syringes with ketchup 😁, etc etc etc. I’m good at making things disgusting heh heh. We’ll toss blankets everywhere, pig out, watch scary movies and play video games. Just another regular Halloween for us lol.
We’re in the UK and I’ve given up on Boris saying anything sensible so am relying on my own common sense in this. We’re not trick or treating, instead we’re having a Harry Potter/Halloween party with just us. It’s basically going up be a Harry potter themed birthday party without it being someone’s birthday.
It’s sad because the kids love Halloween but… We’re lucky there’s not more for our family to be sad about, really.
We’re doing the same thing. My husband and oldest daughter already said they’re going to whip up Butter beer and make HP treats for our youngest who would usually be out trick or treating.
This breaks my heart for the kids (it’s not their fault adults are morons).
We are having Halloween but I’m currently in the Atlantic Canadian Bubble. 2.3 million people, and currently only 11 active cases (All travel related) and no known community spread. It is very difficult (very) and requires sacrifice and cooperation but it CAN be done.
It’s so bitter that all of this was not necessary. The kids could have had halloween this year. If we had all actually put our masks on and stayed at home for 2-3 weeks in spring then we could be back to normal by now.
All of my lights will be off and the dogs in their crates and us upstairs by the time it gets dark so Halloween as usual here.
I live on the top of a hilly street, so I get very few trick or treaters under normal circumstances. I will put out some candy in case anyone comes by.
I also get very few trick or treaters, usually 0-5 kids. But, just in case, I plan on leaving a bowl of candy on the porch. I did that last year because I wasn’t going to be home and I still had a full bowl of candy in the morning. I just can’t bring myself to not have candy in case someone does come by.
Thats’s so kind of you!
I live in a historic district, and get hundreds of kids every year. I’m assuming it will be less this year, but still some. I’m going to put candy out somewhere on a table or something in the yard, and whatever isn’t taken at the end of the night goes in the trash.
That maps, yikes – my county is the only red spot in the whole area. Lovely.
We are doing a pared down Halloween here (we live in the Bay Area). We decorated the house like crazy both inside and outside, we have our ‘pod’ family coming over to have a spooky dinner and general craziness. We have arranged with the people on our street (we don’t get trick or treaters) to leave candy out for the boys (we bought the candy) and, my very favorite, we are putting out Halloween eggs (orange plastic eggs that will have a piece of candy and a mini glow stick in them so they glow in the dark). Another thing we are doing is making Halloween treat bags for friends that we will drop off at their houses. We will make Halloween sugar cookies and Rice Krispie treats and fill the bags with all sort of silly Halloween things and treats.
My son is 10 and was really sad that Halloween wasn’t going to happen but feels a LOT better knowing that it will, even if it’s a different version.
I hope people get creative and don’t try to trick or treat the traditional way. That’s a sure way to spread the virus.
Halloween is by far my favorite holiday and time of year. I always go to haunted houses, hayrides, pumpkin picking, the whole nine yards. The last several years I’ve traveled from the Northeast to Florida for Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, and I’ll really miss that trip this time; I look forward to it all year. It’s sad that it has to be this way, but I’m thankful for innovations, like drive-thru haunted trails!
I am planning on giving out bags of candy with pencils and erasers or a little safe toy for those 3-5. Not sure what my delivery system will be. I don’t dare leave a bowl out. I accidentally left it unsupervised for a few minutes last year and some kids took all of it.