Like all holidays, Halloween is a bit more complicated during a global pandemic. Close-quarters activities like trick-or-treating are now much more trick than treat. Medical experts agree—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have categorized traditional trick-or-treating as a high-risk activity for COVID-19 and Influenza infection. Unfortunately, the version of this Halloween tradition most of us know and love simply isn’t safe this year.
While Halloween may not feel the same, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring for you and your kids. There are plenty of ways to have a frightful and delightful holiday while keeping your friends, family, and neighbors safe.
Let’s be honest: Part of the fun of trick-or-treating is the “treat” part. But the pandemic doesn’t mean your kids have to give up their sugar high (as tempting as that may sound). There are still fun ways for your little one to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Try approaching trick-or-treating this year much like you’d organize an Easter egg hunt. Hide Halloween candy around the house and yard, along with clues leading to the next ones. Get creative with your prizes and clues, and this activity will also be fun for parents. Better yet, coordinate with other parents in your neighborhood to create a socially distanced hunt that multiple kids can safely participate in.
Another way to keep the treats flowing is by putting together “scare packages.” Stock up on some Halloween goodies and put together small gift bags that you can drop off with friends and family. You can still see friends from a safe distance when you drop off the scare packages—and show off your creative costumes. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing any treats you plan on sharing with others.
Pumpkin carving is a classic Halloween activity that’s as safe as it was before the pandemic. It’s an excellent activity for kids and can also work as a socially distanced backyard activity with friends and family if the weather is nice enough. Try organizing a pumpkin carving contest with your neighbors or family members. If you’re separated geographically, you can even carve pumpkins over a video call and virtually share your artistic prowess.
One silver lining of doing so much socializing over the internet is that geography doesn’t have to separate us. Try connecting with friends who you normally couldn’t trick-or-treat with and hold a virtual costume party. You can even coordinate with other families in advance to plan special prizes, treats, activities, and games for the kids.
We all have that neighbor who really leans into decorating their home during the Halloween season. While you don’t have to go that overboard, decking out your place with cobwebs, fake headstones, or other decorative items is a great way to get in the Halloween spirit. This kid-friendly activity engages their creativity and keeps them focused on something other than candy. Order some supplies online, or safely visit a local crafts store to stock up. Decorating your home is a festive family activity that keeps everyone safe and sufficiently spooked.
Keep in mind that your child’s Darth Vader mask won’t help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and Influenza. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth mask under any costume mask. If your kids are participating in outdoor, socially distanced Halloween activities, make sure that they are wearing proper masks underneath their costumes—and that there is at least six feet of space between them and others at all times.