We’ve all had to adapt to a new normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, with 188 million Americans fully vaccinated and outdoor activities deemed relatively safe for children under the age of 12 who currently can’t get vaccinated, it seems like Halloween will feel a little more normal this year.
Halloween is beloved by kids and adults alike. From getting creative with at-home festivities to keeping gatherings outdoors and small, here’s how to have fun and celebrate this year while keeping safety in mind.
Leading up to the holiday, you can decorate inside and around your home, carve pumpkins and decide on costumes to put you in the Halloween spirit.
When Oct. 31 finally arrives, celebrate in the safest way by dressing up and having a Halloween party among your household members. Do the “Monster Mash,” tell scary stories or plan a scavenger hunt with a list of Halloween-themed items and candy for the kids to find. Play games like Halloween bingo and pin the spider on the web or try making slime.
Curl up on the couch and watch a Halloween movie marathon. There’s plenty to choose from, with kid-friendly options like “Hocus Pocus” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” to horror classics (for the teens!) like “Halloween” and “The Exorcist.”
The close-contact nature of traditional trick-or-treating still poses some risk to unvaccinated children; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidance for those with their hearts set on trick-or-treating.
Trick-or-treating outdoors, where the risk of infection is lower, and in small groups should be safe for young children. But the CDC still recommends avoiding crowds and maintaining 6 feet of distance between yourself and non-household members, even when outdoors.
Have your child wear a mask (try incorporating it into their costume) if you’d prefer some extra protection – even if it’s just when they’re collecting candy.
“In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated,” according to the CDC.
Don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer. And, try to keep little ones from indulging in their candy until they get home, where hands can be washed and goodies can be inspected and cleaned.
Handing Out Candy
The idea of leaving candy out for trick-or-treaters isn’t a new practice, but limiting the risk of crowding and contact is something candy-givers need to consider.
“If you give out treats, consider sitting outside and lining up individually prepackaged goodies on a table for children to take,” according to HealthyChildren.org. “Non-edible treats are a good option, especially for children who suffer from food allergies.”
Keeping Halloween safety in mind, some people came up with creative solutions for giving out candy while maintaining distance. Attaching a PVC pipe or long cardboard tube to a front railing to make a shoot is one option. Another method is using a laundry line pully system to give candy from 6 or more feet away.
What to Avoid
Halloween is all about scares, but you should still feel safe this season.
Continue to avoid attending large indoor Halloween parties, indoor haunted houses and traveling outside your community if you choose to trick-or-treat this year.
Even if your seasonal celebrations are outdoors, close-contact activities with non-household members, like hayrides, fall festivals, trunk-or-treat events, etc., pose some risk.
Instead, consider an outdoor, one-way, walk-through haunted forest or corn maze, where mask use and/or social distancing are enforced. “If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised,” according to the CDC. “The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.”
For now, getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and social distancing are still best practices for staying safe and protecting those who can’t be vaccinated. Take care this Halloween and celebrate in ways that keep you, your family and your community safe.
How will you be celebrating Halloween this year? Tell us in the comments below.