Across America, many parents and kids are wondering one thing: Is Halloween still happening? Since we are in the middle of a global pandemic, the usual festivities will work a little differently this year. But one thing's for sure — face masks are guaranteed to be a popular costume accessory.
Trick-or-Treating Seems To Be Off the Table
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently advised against traditional trick-or-treating this year since it's considered a high-risk activity for spreading COVID-19. But as far as banning it? That's apparently up to each town.
"Your city will determine if trick-or-treating is happening or not," explains Dr. Neha Vyas, a family medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. "If it is, then it’s really about deciding as a family what you’re comfortable with and how you’ll protect yourself and those around you. If your city has determined that trick-or-treating will be canceled, everyone will need to respect that rule as well."
Are you considering allowing your kids to trick-or-treat? Then there are quite a few things to consider. For instance, how will you and your child social distance from others? How many houses will you stop by? And how will you keep your hands clean and stop your child from touching their face?
Last but certainly not least, how will you incorporate a face mask into your kid's costume? Unfortunately, fun masks such as Spiderman's disguise or an Iron Man helmet don't count; kids and parents will need to wear coronavirus face protection that completely covers their mouths and noses and has multiple layers.
The CDC recommends against your kids donning both a face mask and costume mask, as this could make it difficult for them to breathe. With that said, both doctors and ninjas will probably be popular costumes this year. But that doesn't mean you and your loved ones can't get creative!
On the bright side, Dr. Vyas does mention that sanitizing your kid's candy haul probably won't be necessary. She says, "The transmission of coronavirus on surfaces is very low. But if you feel safer doing it, than by all means do."
How to Pass Out Candy This Year
If you still want to supply some sugary treats this Halloween, consider leaving it and some hand sanitizer on a table at the end of your driveway. This allows you to still enjoy the night from a safe distance. Alternatively, you could designate one of your household members with clean hands or gloves as the one who passes out candy.
Here's one thing you definitely want to do differently this year: Avoid having kids pick candy directly from a bowl. This allows germs to easily spread. Also, it's probably best to skip out on making and passing out homemade concoctions.
One last option for passing out candy is to implement one-way trick-or-treating. Basically, this is when you individually wrap goodie bags and line them up for families to grab as they pass your house. The kids get their candy. You get to safely social distance. Everyone wins!
What About Haunted Houses, Hayrides, and Corn Mazes?
It's imperative that you tread carefully when it comes to haunted houses, hayrides, and corn mazes. Traditionally, these activities are group-oriented. Obviously, that doesn't mix well with the COVID-19 pandemic, so these activities have been deemed high-risk. Fortunately, people are coming up with some innovative ways to still hold these activities.
Check in your area if any businesses are offering drive-thru haunted house experiences. This helps to limit any exposure to large gatherings. If not, there's a good chance your usual haunted houses are implementing a reservation system to stop huge influxes of guests. Call ahead to get yourself a spot and inquire about what they're doing to keep things safe. Ask about how they're ensuring social distancing, disinfecting, and what crowd capacity they're adhering to.
Another potential option to check is if businesses in your area are holding one-way, outdoor, socially distant haunted forests, hayrides, or corn mazes. For hayrides and tractor rides, grouping up with people not in your household is not recommended. No matter what you do, if there's screaming involved (and let's get real, for any of these activities, that's definitely the case), then the more social distancing, the better.
Whatever you choose to do, wear your face mask, bring hand sanitizer, and don't be afraid to leave if proper protocols aren't being followed.
Other Ways to Celebrate the Spookiest Night of the Season
It's perfectly okay if you're not comfortable with celebrating Halloween with trick-or-treating or haunted houses. A little creativity can go a long way to still make this holiday a spooky and fun one. Here are a few ideas to get your creative cogs turning:
- Visit a pumpkin patch (As with haunted houses, call ahead to reserve a time slot and ask about how they're keeping things safe).
- Decorate or carve pumpkins.
- Make a piñata for your kids to smash.
- Binge-watch a scary movie marathon.
- Hold a candy scavenger hunt at home.
- Hosta virtual Halloween costume party.
Halloween is certainly shaping up to be a little different from prior years. But there's still fun to be had. The trick to this treat is to set the correct expectations for your kids. Whatever you choose to do, stay safe! Wear face masks, social distance, avoid touching your face, sanitize your hands, and don't hesitate to stay home if you're not feeling well.
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