Halloween Health and Safety Tips for 2020

COVID-19 presents new Halloween health and safety concerns and emphasizes the importance of some old ones.

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There’s no question that COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives, including how we will observe Halloween. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidelines for how to safely celebrate Halloween. High-risk activities to avoid include door-to-door trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating (handing out treats from the trunks of cars in a parking lot), indoor costume parties, crowded haunted houses and even hayrides.

But there are still plenty of ways to give kids a fun Halloween. Check out these health and safety tips for Halloween 2020, and keep that ghoulish virus at bay!

Incorporate a Mask in Kids’ Costumes

Sure, kids like to wear masks for Halloween. But this year, they really need to wear masks. These Halloween face masks can become part of a not-too-spooky costume. Or you can use markers to decorate a disposable mask with vampire fangs, a Teddy Bear nose and mouth, or a superhero’s logo. Here’s a creepy choice for older kids.

Do a Candy Scavenger Hunt at Home

To stay safe and sound at home but not forgo Halloween altogether, consider an indoor candy scavenger hunt — in costume, of course!

Put the first clue in your kids’ treat bucket, then leave the next clue under each piece of candy they discover. If the weather’s not too cold, you can try the same activity outside, and maybe invite other kids and parents over for a socially distanced backyard scavenger hunt.

Decorate the Backyard and Invite a Few Kids Over

If you are already part of a social bubble that includes other families with kids, try tricking out your backyard with spooky or playful Halloween decorations and invite your group over for a safe Halloween party.

Place treats in plastic Easter eggs and hide them around the yard. Stage a mini-Halloween parade and award prizes for different costume categories. (Because you’re a small group, make sure every child gets a prize.) Or you can tell spooky stories around a socially distanced fire pit.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

If you live near where pumpkins grow, you probably know that a visit to the pumpkin patch is a rite of autumn. Your kids don’t have to miss out just because there’s a pandemic. With masks, social distancing and liberal doses of hand sanitizer, they can still have fun at these outdoor activities. Have them go in costume for some good photo ops. Bring home pumpkins for carving jack-o’-lanterns.

Check out this article from Frommer’s about the best fall orchards and farms across the US.

If You Decide to Trick-or-Treat:

Stick to Small Groups

The CDC advises against door-to-door trick-or-treating, and some jurisdictions are banning it this year. But if you and yours do decide to trick-or-treat, keep your group small, ideally limited to immediate family or a social pod you’re already part of. Keep a safe distance from other groups of trick-or-treaters. Wait for the group ahead of you to disperse before you approach doorways of homes.

Don’t Ring Doorbells with Your Hands

That witch’s broom or Harry Potter magic wand can do double duty this year — as a doorbell ringer. If you don’t have costume props, bring an item you can use to ring doorbells, anything to avoid pressing a finger on the same button that dozens of others have touched. In any case, bring along hand sanitizer and give your child (and yourself) a squirt periodically throughout the evening.

Wipe Down Those Treats or Let Them Sit

For kids, there’s nothing more agonizing than waiting to enjoy their Halloween candy. But this year, they’ll need to exercise a little patience to trick-or-treat safely. Allow candy to sit out overnight — on top of the fridge, maybe — or wipe down wrapped candy with sanitizing wipes before letting kids dig in.

If You Welcome Trick-or-Treaters:

Set Up a Treat Table

Instead of answering the door with a bowl of candy, set up a table outside with individually wrapped treat bags. If you don’t want to miss seeing all the little kids in costume, sit outside and watch the action, but stay at least six feet from the treats table. You can also use glow-in-the-dark tape to mark directional arrows in the driveway and keep traffic moving one-way.

Get Creative with Treat Handouts

Since close-up contact with trick-or-treaters is possibly unsafe for them and you, consider creative solutions for handing out candy. Create a candy chute with a long piece of decorated PVC pipe so that kids remain at least six feet away. Another clever idea? If you’ve got a pet door on the front door, purchase some scary zombie gloves and pass treats through the pet door. After all, a socially distanced zombie is the best kind of zombie!