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How to Trick-or-Treat Safely This Halloween

2020 Is Scary Enough Without Taking Chances

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Above image credit: Halloween festivities aren't completely canceled because of the pandemic. Here are a few creative ways to still indulge in the spooky season. (Adobe Stock)

Halloween looks a bit different this year. 

Instead of crowds of children in costumes ringing doorbells, welcomed by neighbors with a bowl of candy ready to drop in the kids’ little plastic buckets, people are reimagining ways to safely celebrate. 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the key is to avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters. It seems this has families on Facebook, Nextdoor and Reddit asking around: “How are you doing Halloween this year?”

For Kansas City-based parents Ronnie and Melissa Porter, creative was the way to go to celebrate with their four small children.

The Porter kids carving pumpkins at home. (Courtesy | Porters)

Melissa said that their kids have been handling quarantine well. All four children are homeschooled, so their lives didn’t change drastically when things shut down. However, they noticed their friends starting to take part in seasonal festivities such as Halloween and wanted to join in on the fun. Ronnie and Melissa started to think about ways they celebrate safely.

They also participated in a “trunk-or-treat” at Midtown Baptist Temple where the kids were able to dress up and collect candy from masked and gloved volunteers.

“It was indoors and we all socially distanced, but they were still able to participate without doing the full gamut,” Ronnie said. 

In addition to pumpkin carving at home and trick-or-treating in a controlled environment, Melissa said they’re having the kids help them with decorating the house.

On Halloween night, rather than go door- to-door, the Porter family is opting to dress up at home and find a way to pass out candy while limiting contact with trick-or-treaters. They plan on having all the kids masked and gloved to hand out individual portions of candy. 

“Every holiday is what the family makes it,” Ronnie said.

Ronnie and Melissa Porter get creative with their Halloween activities this year. (Courtesy | Porters)
Ronnie and Melissa Porter get creative with their Halloween activities this year. (Courtesy | Porters)

  • Maha Alrasheed - safe Halloween candy idea
  • Maha Alrasheed's Halloween candy kabobs

“Halloween for my family, this year, is going to be different, but not difficult. And I said ‘different’ because we thought that it is our responsibility to keep our community members safe. We will have stick-treats outside of our house. Literally, the idea of this is to attach candy to sticks. Then put those sticks into the ground. This way, it’s safe, socially distanced, and still fun for the kids and the adults, as well.”

Carmen toma, lawrence resident on keepinng halloween alive and safe in a pandemic

Safe Halloween Activities

  1. Halloween candy hunt: Instead of an Easter egg, hide little bags decorated with pumpkins or orange twine and let the kids wander around the yard to find their treats. 
  2. Ghost delivery: If you’re wary of having folks come to your doorstep asking for candy, prep some bags and make a special delivery to a few of your closest neighbors and friends. This is much faster than snail mail and sweet personal touch.
  3. Candy cemetery: Imagine a lawn full of candies. It’s a childhood dream. So why not curate a selection of favorite candies, wrap with fuzzy craft stems (maybe even tie it to look like a fuzzy spider) and put them on a stick laid out around your front yard?   
  4. Spooky movie night: There’s nothing like a movie night, especially with fun and spooky movies. Pick a couple of flicks – or classic Disney shorts from the 1930s, for instance – and convert your living room into a pillow tent. Even those without kids will get a kick out of this. Lawrence-based independent theater Liberty Hall is hosting their first-ever live stream Halloween movie event. More information here.
  5. Go dark: If you have any underlying health conditions, are at higher risk because of your age or other reasons, it’s completely OK to switch the porch light off and have a night in. Better yet, have your favorite candy or dessert delivered or make some homemade desserts. Halloween is just an excuse to dress up, binge on sweets and enjoy the freedoms and creativity of being a kid again — even if it’s on the couch.

Catherine Hoffman reports on community and culture for Kansas City PBS in cooperation with Report for America.

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