October 14, 2020
On Halloween, an estimated 41.1 million children between 5 and 14 take to the streets and go door to door collecting candy, participating in a tradition that dates back more than 2,000 years.
The holiday conjures thoughts of ghouls and goblins, witches and ghosts, creating a spooky mystique that casts a pall over the night, even in normal times.This year, spooky has the potential to turn scary as the U.S. continues to grapple with a global pandemic. Since mid-March, COVID-19 has impacted almost every aspect of our daily lives, and holidays have been no exception. In fact, health officials warn that holidays are often followed by a spike in COVID cases, as people tend to gather in larger numbers and often forgo basic precautions such as social distancing and use of masks.
But while Halloween may take on a different look and feel this year, it is by no means canceled.
5 Alternative Options for Trick or Treating
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is discouraging the traditional door-to-door approach of collecting candy, it offers several guidelines to celebrate Halloween safely this year:
- Carve or decorate pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
- Host a virtual pumpkin carving contest. Kids (with the help of their parents) can carve pumpkins and take photos of their handiwork all lit up. On Halloween, share photos or set up a Zoom with friends, neighbors and family members, and vote on who has the best jack-o’-lantern
- Put on a virtual Halloween costume contest. Like the virtual pumpkin carving contest, kids can dress up and show off their costumes to friends and family via Zoom. To incentivize the kids, the winner should be awarded a special prize.
- Host a family Halloween movie night. Extra points for the family member who wears the best costume related to the movie.
- Set up a scavenger hunt for the kids. While it isn’t Easter and there will be no eggs, there can be plenty of candy to find.
Rethinking Trick-or-Treating for 2020
If you and your family choose to go door to door, there are still many precautions you can take.
- Incorporate cloth masks and gloves as part of your costume. There are thousands of costume possibilities that could showcase specialty masks, including superheroes, animals, pumpkins, skeletons, scary clowns, etc.
- A mask will not only help to keep you and others safe, but it also can make a great accessory for almost any costume. (Note: A “traditional” Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a tight-fitting cloth mask)
If your neighborhood plans to hand out candy and you’d like to participate, there are many precautions you can take to mitigate risk:
- Wear a mask when opening the door.
- Create individual candy bags that allow trick-or-treaters to collect candy without the potentially harmful human interaction.
- Limit group size and only allow one group of trick-or-treaters per house.
- If you really want to get creative, you can easily make a “Candy Chute” with PVC pipe or other household items. When decorating the chute, get creative!
Don’t Forget to Assess Your Risks
While we still have a lot to learn about COVID-19, we do know that everyone has different risk factors, and as a result, there is virtually no uniform approach to living through this pandemic. Those over the age of 65, and anyone with underlying medical conditions, should be particularly cautious this Halloween. If you fall into the “higher risk” category, consider one of the virtual options listed above, so you can safely participate in the festivities.
The FINN team wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween. Be safe!
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