Having a Socially Distant Halloween

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A pumpkin wearing a mask with a jack-'o'-lantern face.Halloween is usually a festive time, filled with parties and hordes of costumed children going door to door. This year is a little different with many kids in online schooling and avoiding visiting friends and relatives due to COVID-19. The CDC is recommending extra caution and many states and counties are discouraging trick-or-treating altogether. This can be very disappointing for all, but especially younger kids who are missing out on school parties AND the chance to show off their costumes and collect goodies from neighbors. Here are some tips to keep your family safe during this spooky time of year.



Three trick-or-treaters in COVID masks.


In a normal year, families have choices about where to go trick-or-treating. Many shopping plazas and main streets give out candy and some neighborhoods go all out with decorations to lure visitors to their area. Many of these celebrations have been canceled this year to prevent crowds.

If you are planning on taking your kids trick-or-treating, be sure to have everyone wear a fabric or medical mask. It's a good year to plan a costume that incorporates a mask. Some ideas are superheroes, villains, construction workers, medical workers, firefighters or even a bandit. Girls could dress as a genie, Jasmine from Aladdin or just get a fun coordinating mask to go with any outfit. 2020 specific ideas might be a "coronavirus", the Grim Reaper, or a prized roll of toilet paper. Use your imagination. Just don't layer a Halloween mask with a fabric one as it could make it difficult to breathe. And kids that are too young to wear a mask probably should celebrate at home this year.

If you are giving out candy, it is recommended to make individual goodie bags instead of the standard bowl of candy to grab from. People are attaching bags to the garage or fence and some creative souls are even setting up lines, chutes or even candy cannons to deliver the candy in a socially distant way. If you are not accepting visitors this year, be sure to turn out your porch light and perhaps don't have a jack-o'-lantern or outdoor decorations to avoid confusion and disappointment.

Kids that are not going trick-or-treating this year may enjoy going to a pumpkin patch, a drive through haunted house or an outdoor movie. Check with your local community to see what they have set up this year. If your relatives are close by, you can have a socially distant visit to show off costumes and exchange treats.

Here is a link from the CDC with more information about safely celebrating Halloween this year.


A kids Halloween party.


Halloween parties are often held on the weekend before or just after Halloween. This year, Halloween is on a Saturday, the perfect time for a big celebration for both kids and adults. But most communities are limiting large gatherings and recommending that people stay in their "bubble" to avoid spreading the virus.

Many people have been meeting virtually during the last 6 months. Setting up a virtual party is a great way to have kids show off their costumes and share the fun with their relatives or school friends. You could set up a virtual dance party, games like Halloween trivia or charades or even watch a movie together. These ideas work well for older friends and family too, just up the scare factor.

If you are having a small party for your immediate family, plan activities to keep it fun. Have your kids help make Halloween treats or seasonal craft projects. It's a good year for elaborate face paint or costumes that are too cold for trick-or-treating. Have a spider hunt or other fun Halloween games, with small prizes for the winners. Tell ghost stories around the fireplace or by candlelight. Make an extra effort to decorate the inside of your house and play spooky music to set the mood. Even if you don't want to have a jack-o'-lantern on your front doorstep, you can still carve and light pumpkins indoors or in the backyard.

Here are some other ideas that have been sent in by our members. They can easily be adapted for this unusual year. Lots more ideas can be found at This event is good practice for the upcoming holiday season, where celebrations will also be curtailed for many due to COVID-19. Halloween is on a Sunday in 2021 so hopefully we will be back to normal by then.

Happy Halloween! Please share your own tips for celebrating this year.


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