As we prepare for the (potentially upsetting) reality that the next few months won’t see a sudden snap back to normal, finding a way to keep a few of the bright parts of the fall (hello Halloween) without being unsafe is going to be a unique 2020 challenge. Because, real talk: going trick-or-treating like normal, door to door (likely with people outside your household or pod) and getting food from strangers breaks about 2/3s of the established rules of pandemic safety.
But, never fear! Even though Halloween is going to look different, there are a few ways to make sure that you and your family can still enjoy the fun spooky day without putting you or anyone in your community at risk. And Hershey’s and the Harvard Global Health Institute even made up a super awesome website that gives a county-by-county breakdown of risk with color-coded safety suggestions that can advise you on some safe and fun plans. (You can still buy the extra bag of fun sized whatever-it-is you were eyeing on your last supply run — but it doesn’t need to be as a “sorry about the pandemic!” bribe.)
A new map, provided by @HarvardGH, helps parents determine risk levels of Halloween activities in their area with recommended guidelines for a safe #Halloween2020 celebration. Read more from @USATODAY https://t.co/oErWi6gTTz pic.twitter.com/AnSJdEoELz
— The Hershey Company (@HersheyCompany) September 15, 2020
But what are some of the safe halloween tricks recommended for different areas? In addition to wearing your masks, washing your hands and making sure you’re all on the same page about who is in the bubble you’re comfortable interacting with, here’s the low-down.
When in doubt, stay home
This is a no-brainer, but it’s important to make sure no one is actively germy or feeling under the weather. Being sick on Halloween is never fun but you don’t want to bring your germs out into the world. If someone’s feeling less-than-great or if you’ve tested positive, stream some kid-friendly spooky movies or set up some fun at-home halloween activities. It’ll be different, of course, but everyone will be safe and you can make some really great memories together at home.
If you or a member of your family is immunocompromised or has a chronic condition, you may want to consider a strategy that involves sticking it out at home.
If you do feel like you’re all comfortable heading out (masks on and distance in mind), then you’re good to go and there’s a few clear and safe options available.
Ride in Style
Not unlike the car parades we saw around graduation time, there are a few car-centric Trick-or-Treat options the site recommends: Trunk or Treat or drive-up trick-or-treating in garages or drive-ways you know. (This is advised for green zones, per the map).
“Check out the neighbors that are going all out and paving the way for garage give-outs! Driveways offer up more room to roam than a traditional walkway and can even sport more fun and frightful décor,” they write. And trunk-or-treats? “It’s not just for parking lots anymore! Neighborhood Trunk-R-Treats will be popping up everywhere this Halloween too!”
Yeet the Treats
A recommendation for the yellow zone, the site says you can embrace the fun of catching treats from a safe, social distance.
“This trendy new lingo means to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction,” they write. “So, huddle with the neighborhood beforehand and get everyone on board to Yeet the Treats! Reminiscent of those nostalgic days gone by where parade floats threw out candy to kids who patiently stood by. This time, homeowners will yeet candy from 6 feet away as costumed kids travel safely up and down sidewalks”
For the zones classified as orange, the site recommends maybe taking the distance to another level: scavenger hunts. You can pre-arrange with your neighborhood (or just do a spooky play on your solo family easter egg hunt) to optimize distance and fun and make an event out of it.
If your family is located in the red zones (which, as far as colors go, probably means you’re trying your best to be cautious anyway), there is no harm in falling back on the cool virtual fun we’ve all been getting so good at. Throw a zoom halloween party with a costume fashion show, take turns telling your best campfire ghost story, show off your best attempts to “Nail It” at some Halloween treats or hit play on the same movie at the same time and watch it together (’tis the season for Hocus Pocus, after all.)
Staying safe and happy and healthy is hard work in 2020, but you can do it and still keep the fun going for you and your family.
Before you go, here are some of the best kids face masks for keeping on tiny faces: