By: Katie Cavender
The year 2020 has certainly given us all a fright, but don’t let it scare you out of having a terrifyingly fun Halloween. It’s critical to remember: If you have any symptoms of illness, stay home, distance yourself from others, and do not hand out candy.
Get creative to stay safe
If there was ever a holiday that embraced creativity, it’s Halloween. In years past, we’ve focused our creativity on costumes, but this year is an opportunity to use that same skill for planning Halloween activities that are COVID-smart. There are plenty of ways to celebrate with your household in a safe way:
- Decorate your house – You can either go with traditional spooky chic décor or follow a theme in line with your children’s costumes. Are they characters from a movie? Make the movie come to life by setting the scene in your home.
- Create a candy or pumpkin hunt – Finding candy in the yard is no longer just for Easter. Hide treats around your house for some Halloween adventure. If you want to avoid the sugar, hide pumpkins and then offer supplies for decorating or carving once the hunt is completed. If you have older kids, create a scavenger hunt to increase the difficulty.
- Go trick-or-treating indoors – If your kids love going to door-to-door, you can try to recreate the experience in your home. Have adults from your household wait for a knock at the bedroom door. They can answer in costume and put candy in your child’s basket. To add an element of surprise, put on a new hat, wig, or costume after each time the door is closed.
- Host a virtual Halloween party – Whether it’s a costume party or a pumpkin carving contest, you can make your party virtual to keep party-goers safe. Quiz the group with trivia about The Addams Family, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and all things Halloween. Then conclude the party with a Monster Mash dance-off.
- March in a mini costume parade – Who could blame your little ones for wanting to show off their costumes? Go for a walk or a bike ride to create your own mini costume parade.
- Watch a spooky movie – Nothing is more “Halloween” than a good spooky movie. Curl up on the couch with popcorn and hot cocoa to have a frightful night.
- Play Halloween games – Put a Halloween twist on traditional games like charades or corn hole. For charades, write scary movies or spooky things on small pieces of paper for participants to draw out of a hat and act out. For corn hole, paint festive images on the boards. You also can hang a Halloween-themed piñata packed with healthy treats.
- Make a fall craft – You don’t have to dress up like Martha Stewart to enjoy a good fall craft. Tape wings to a paper towel roll to make a bat, or color a jack-o-lantern on a paper plate and add a construction paper stem. You also can create some friendly competition by handing out baggies of art supplies with the challenge of creating the spookiest creature.
Be smart and plan ahead
For those of us who are not experiencing symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that certain activities like traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door can still pose a high risk to our community’s health. They recommend taking these factors into consideration when planning your celebration:
- Community levels of COVID-19 – Check your town’s guidelines for Halloween celebrations and trick-or-treating.
- The location of the gathering – Try to hold your gathering outdoors for increased circulation.
- The duration of the gathering – Extended time with others outside your household increases the risk for transmission.
- The number of people at the gathering – The more people at a gathering, the higher risk it poses.
- The locations the attendees are traveling from – Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends that people traveling from COVID-19 hot spots quarantine for at least 14 days upon return.
- The behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Find out if people attending your gathering have been practicing social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing a face mask prior to the gathering.
- The behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Make sure that everyone at your gathering is implementing preventive measures like wearing a face mask, social distancing, and hand-washing.
No matter how you celebrate, remember to stay safe. Our community’s health depends on boo – I mean you.