In no way do I take this pandemic lightly. I pulled my kids out of school in NYC before schools officially closed, we locked down at home for weeks before starting to slowly venture out to open parks in masks. Heck, I'm even homeschooling them this year!! It's been a LONG six months and it's really not likely to end any time soon (quite the contrary, it'll probably get worse with the 2nd and 3rd waves before we get the vaccine). That said, we've learned alot about how to prevent transmission and it really is fairly simple:
1. Everyone MUST Wear Masks
I'm talking kids trick or treating, parents escorting them, and people handing out candy. Nose and mouth need to be covered properly and masks shouldn't be touched or taken off until you're far from others and able to wash or sanitize your hands. Bringing a baby or toddler along who won't tolerate a mask? Consider putting them in a stroller with the rain cover on.
**Bonus - faces covered in masks = no face makeup this year! That stuff is so messy and gross anyway!!
2. Social Distance with Halloween Spirit
Have you seen this Ohio dad's idea of the Candy Chute (watch video below)!? BRILLIANT!!! We need more ideas like this!! You could also put a barrier or some sort of marker 6 feet from your door for trick or treaters to stop there. You can toss candy into their bags. You could leave a bowl out there for them to serve themselves (even better if you have a scooper so they're not putting hands into the bowl and touching all the candy, bonus if you also put a bottle of hand sanitizer next to the bowl). You could put markers and arrows along your walkway and driveaway to show them how to keep the line moving in a single direction and have kids waiting in line 6 feet apart (think caution tape, halloween luminaries, pumpkins, you name it). Of course, traditionally kids just all rush together in huge masses but I think they're getting used to lining up far apart at school, in the grocery store etc. This won't be anything new for them! But will definitely require chaperones to help them stay organized and safe.
3. Choose Your Group Wisely
The best idea would be to simply trick or treat with only the family you live with. Next best would be with a couple of friends from your child's school pod, since they're together all day anyway.
4. Quarantine the Candy
Most of us are totally over the whole sanitizing your groceries thing, am I right? I mean, to be honest, I never did that. But Halloween Candy? QUARANTINE THAT STUFF!! I'm serious. It could even kind of be fun, drawing out the Halloween Celebrations! They collect the candy, hopefully most being tossed in so they don't even touch it. Get home. Bag goes into a closet for 3 days. Boom. After quarantine you could have a little Halloween Candy Release Celebration! If you want to treat them with some candy on Halloween night or before quarantine ends, open it up for them and put it on a plate so there's no cross contamination. You never know who handled that candy before you. Ick. Not worth the risk IMO.
My family actually gets visited by the Switch Witch (see last year's video below). Traditionally I let them pick out 10 pieces of candy to save as soon as we get home from Trick or Treating. The rest gets left out for the Switch Witch who comes at night and leaves a toy or some sort of prize in place of the candy. It's actually really fun!! Switch Witch can still be done this year (it's probably best if you start when they're young, i.e. 3 years old which is probably the first Halloween they might remember). My almost 8 year old still loves doing it!
5. Avoid Large Groups
Depending on where you live, this may be tricky. It may mean trick or treating earlier than usual. It may mean not staying out as long as usual - just doing your block and calling it a day perhaps, rather than going out for 5 hours and collecting 2 pillow cases full. This year will not be like past years. Make sure your kids know that. It can still be fun, but it won't be the same and the rules aren't the same either. Try to stay 6 feet from other groups. If you start crossing paths with the same groups of kids switch it up and go to the other side of the street or try a different area.
6. Trunk or Treat
If traditional trick or treating leaves you super nervous, organize something different, something you can have a bit more control of. For example, you could do a Trunk or Treat through your school's PTA. Cars have to sign up so it would be limited to only be one per every other parking spot. Kids don't go up to the car but rather stand 6 feet back and get candy tossed. You could have a little dance party too, kids stay by their own car with music blasting from one car. Or get a DJ for the middle of the parking lot. Sounds amazing to me!
So, there are just a few ideas I have. The thought of canceling Halloween and Trick or Treating altogether just really really bums me out. I really have no idea why people are even tossing around that idea, it seems there are plenty of ways to make it safe. If someone in your home is immunocompromised, you could even just do trick or treating at your own house, kids get dressed up and take turns trick or treating and handing out candy to each other. Why not!!
If you have any thoughts on this or ideas for ways to make Halloween special and safe for the kids this year, please drop them in a comment!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)