It’s 2020, and parents are feeling more spooked than ever about Halloween this year. While smoke or rain always have the potential to put a damper on the festivities, the real fear this year is the COVID pandemic. Expect to hear less “Trick or Treat” on Halloween night: Half of a sampling of Northgate parents indicated they are unsure if they will allow their children to trick or treat, and 20% said they will not be trick or treating. Halloween-haters will enjoy the quieter night, while Halloween fans are disappointed that most haunted houses and pumpkin patches are not open this year.
For those choosing to participate in Halloween activities, they will certainly be more low-key. As the risk for COVID is greater due to time spent with others rather than from candy – half of the families surveyed plan to trick or treat with immediate families only. For kids who are going out with friends, their parents plan to accompany them to ensure they are social distancing. Many traditional parties are off due to the social gathering ban, though some plan to hold small outdoor gatherings with a few friends. Most families plan to wear masks, so costumes that include masks will likely be more popular – think less princesses and more PJ Masks.
Most are still planning to give out candy to trick or treaters, but many of them will leave it outside their house and not open the door. Currently it is not recommended to leave a bowl out where lots of hands can touch and spread germs, but placing individual candies on the porch or lawn can reduce shared contact. And how to handle all that candy when the kids bring it home? Although surface contact has been shown less likely to cause spread of COVID, particles can last for up to a couple days. It is recommended to put most candy aside for a couple days until safe to eat.
For those who do not want to do traditional trick or treating, there are still creative ways for your family to get into the spirit. Decorating your home with jack o’ lanterns, ghosts, and skeletons does not require social distancing! Trunk or treats, where parents gather their cars together in a parking lot, decorate their cars, and give out candy, are gaining in popularity. Throwing a scavenger hunt in your own yard is an easy and safe way for little ones to experience the thrill of finding treasure. Pinterest has dozens of ideas of Halloween crafts and recipes from milk carton lanterns to Rice Krispie pumpkins that you can create as a family. And let’s not forget all those scary movies!
In a year that has been extremely dark, celebrating Halloween under a rare full moon is more important than ever. With proper precautions, children can still feel a bit of normalcy and have a lot of fun! And that is something they all deserve.
By Kristin Shopp, Resident since 2014