Every Child Matters

Halloween Is Going to Be Different This Year

Can parents still make it fun?

Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Hayrack rides, corn mazes, school parties, trick-or-treating. Are all of the typical kid activities off the table due to COVID?

This is the time of year when I am usually desperately searching the internet for an original looking costume for my daughter (I’m not that crafty at making my own.) But this year is different. This year my daughter hasn’t decided yet what she wants to be for Halloween.

She won’t have a school parade or party to show off her costume. We won’t attend any parties, and I can’t even tell her whether or not we will be able to go trick-or-treating. The uncertainty has taken all the fun out of choosing her costume. She says, what is the point if I can’t wear it out of the house?

I can’t let this happen. I’ve got to find a way to rescue Halloween.

Will we even have a choice?

If cities and counties decide to ban trick-or-treating, the choice may be made for us. Los Angeles County announced a ban on all door-to-door trick-or-treating and car-to-car trunk-or-treating. But there arose such a community outcry from this decision, they have now lifted the ban. Although no longer restricted, the activities remain “not recommended”. And the ban is still on for festivals, parties, or any kind of gathering.

So far, Los Angeles is the only major city to announce plans for Halloween. However, restrictions and bans may be possible in other areas as well. Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago says plans will be announced at a later date, but not to expect mass crowds of trick-or-treaters.

And even if there is no ban in our city and we’re allowed to make our own choices, how many houses will be handing out candy? How many people will feel safe bringing their kids out to trick-or-treat in crowded conditions?

Is it safe to trick or treat?

Photo by Erica Marsland Huynh on Unsplash

The good news is that the virus seems to spread less with outdoor activities. And when you combine outdoors, with masks and social distancing it gets even safer. But, porches and sidewalks can get crowded on Halloween. There is no guarantee that everyone opening up their doors and passing out candy will be wearing masks inside their homes.

According to experts, it’s not the candy being handed out that we need to be worried about, but who we come in close contact with. The main source of spread does not appear to be from surface contact, but from breathing the air of others around you.

So the questions for trick-or-treating becomes:

  • Are you trick or treating with people outside of your household group?
  • Are you congregating on sidewalks and porches in crowded conditions?
  • Are you and those around you wearing masks?

Unless cities and counties ban trick or treating altogether, parents will have to decide for themselves what to do this year.

This is going to be another one of those cases where parents are on their own deciding between two difficult choices. Just as parents had to make tough school decision earlier this year, Halloween will be fraught with uncertainties.

Safety tips if you do trick or treat

If you decide to go, you can reduce your chances of contracting COVID by following these steps.

  • Wear a mask. The evidence proves it, masks work. And what better holiday to wear a mask than Halloween?
  • Avoid crowds. This isn’t the year to trick or treat in large groups. You’re better off going out with members of your household. According to the CDC, the more people gathering, the higher your chance of infection becomes.
  • Social distance. Don’t let your kids rush up to a crowded porch. Keep your distance of 6 feet or more.
  • Watch levels of community transmission. Pay attention to caseloads and positivity rates before you decide to take your kids out on Halloween. Listen to the experts. If your area is experiencing a surge or uptick in cases, this may be the year to skip the crowds and find your fun at home.
  • Leave a bowl outside on your porch. If you want to pass out candy and it’s allowed in your area, you may want to consider setting a bowl outside for kids to pick out themselves. I know this can lead to one child pouring the entire bowl into his bag, but it may be the way it goes this year.
  • Pass out candy safely. Although surface contact isn’t the main spread, it’s still possible. You can use tongs instead of your hands to pass out candy. And wear a mask. Even if you’re in your own home, if you pass out candy you will be within 6 feet of others. So your mask is required.

What about other fall activities?

I can’t let this happen. I’ve got to find a way to rescue Halloween.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

The corn maze is out for our family. The narrow passageways do not allow for social distancing. But maybe pumpkin picking in a big field where we can keep our distance is okay.

Our school is all virtual learning, so there won’t be class parties or costume parades. But hopefully neighborhoods and communities can find safe ways to make this holiday special for kids.

A socially distanced neighborhood costume parade might be okay. House decorating contests are fun and safe. You can still let your kids dress up in costumes, even if they don’t trick or treat. You can make treats, put up decorations, and watch scary movies.

Canceling Halloween may seem like a small thing compared to all of the other disasters occurring. But parents know Halloween is a big deal in the kid world. We’ve got to figure out how to make it fun without sacrificing safety.

Yes, it’s going to look different this year, but we can still have a celebration. This generation of kids is learning more about flexibility and adaptability than we could have ever imagined. Let’s keep it positive and fun without turning Halloween into a super spreader event.

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Writing my life away. Runner/mama/wife/eternal optimist/coffee enthusiast. Owner of Exploring Wellness (https://medium.com/exploring-wellness)

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