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Safe Trick-Or-Treating During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Trick-or-treating is a central tradition of Halloween, to the extent that it’s hard to imagine the holiday without it. Unfortunately, we may have to do more than imagine it for Halloween 2020.

We’ve previously covered the dieting dangers of trick-or-treating, but this year, there’s more to worry about, namely the scary COVID-19 virus. For many, trick-or-treating is an annual happy time to get together with the family and take the grandkids around town, creating lifelong memories in the process. To miss out on it would be difficult. Good thing that, if we’re clever and everyone does their part, there may be ways to go trick-or-treating while staying safe!

Note: We are not saying you and the kids or grandkids can or should go trick-or-treating for 2020. You should follow any state, local, and federal guidelines. We simply wish to provide ideas for safer trick-or-treating in 2020 if guidelines allow for them.

Following the Standard Guidelines

To safely trick-or-treat, you must keep following all the state, local, and federal safety guidelines for any activity, trick-or-treating included. This means social distancing with people outside of your household and wearing a mask. Social distancing is pretty self-evident — just keep a six-foot distance from others. Masks, on the other hand, may be a bit tougher.

To safely trick-or-treat, you must keep following all the state, local, and federal safety guidelines for any activity, trick-or-treating included.

While wearing masks is normal for Halloween, we don’t mean you should wear a wolfman or alien mask. You should wear your COVID-safe mask, even under Halloween masks if you can do safely, since your rubber monster mask likely won’t give the right amount of protection against the virus. If the idea of wearing a mask under a mask is a bit much for you, you can try building one into your costume (think mad surgeon) or getting a Halloween-themed facial mask.

Trick-Or-Treating in the Community

Trick-or-treating has always been a going-out-into-the-community activity. Kids usually go up to a house, ring the doorbell, shout “TRICK OR TREAT,” and get candy. This year, we’ll have to do it a little differently.

While you normally may hand candy directly to the kids, praising their excellent costumes, you need to keep safety in mind. To encourage social distancing, you could leave candy in a bowl at least six feet away from yourself. You can still sit on the porch or a safe distance away, but that social distancing is critical to their safety, and yours. An even better way to do it is for the trick-or-treaters to put their candy bag down in front of the house, step back, and allow the homeowner to place the candy in the bag (after sanitizing). This prevents the potential spread of illness by limiting the amount of hands in the candy bowl. Want to be even safer? Put candies into individual sandwich-style plastic baggies the night before, after you sanitize your hands. The advantage of this is that the kids can grab and take a little bag with them, which limits the risk of exposure for everyone. You can even leave a little bottle of hand sanitizer next to the treats for trick-or-treaters to use!

Want to be even safer? Put candies into individual sandwich-style plastic baggies the night before, after you sanitize your hands.

Luckily, the CDC has found no evidence linking handling food or consuming food to COVID-19. As long as you handle the food correctly before it’s given to the kids (why we limit the amount of hands in the candy bowl and sanitize prior to handing it out), everyone should stay safe. It’s important that everyone follows these rules, however, since one person not doing their part could mean spreading the illness to every other house in the neighborhood.

Alternative Option: Do a Backyard Candy Hunt!

If communal celebrating isn’t an option, and who knows if it is depending on where you are and the current state of the virus, you can still trick-or-treat with just your family. No, we don’t mean having the kids continually ring your doorbell and asking for candy. Instead, tweak an old tradition from Easter — Easter egg hunting. If you have the space, hide candy around your yard, house, or apartment. You can even put the it in Halloween-themed Easter eggs to protect them from the elements. Then, send your little monsters off searching for the candy — dressed up in their costumes, of course!

The point is to make it fun for the kids so that they don’t even miss traditional trick-or-treating.

If you want to add an extra bit of Halloween-y fun, have a member of the family dress up as a witch or goblin of some kind and hide along with the candy. The trick-or-treater that finds the witch or monster can get a special prize. This can be anything from extra candy, to a gift card, to being crowned Queen or King of Halloween. The point is to make it fun for the kids so that they don’t even miss traditional trick-or-treating. Who knows, maybe you all will enjoy it so much that next year, you skip trick-or-treating and do this all again!

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This may all seem like a lot of preparation and worry, but we all need to do our parts to ensure that this pandemic doesn’t get worse. As we mentioned earlier, an event like trick-or-treating, where people go house to house, can become a disaster quickly. All it takes is one person not doing their part or not knowing they’re sick, and the entire neighborhood is now at risk of infection. By taking these precautions now, you can limit the risk toward your neighbors and loved ones, as well as your surrounding communities. Sadly, this type of precaution for once-carefree traditions is the new normal, and the sooner we get used to the “new normal,” the sooner we can hopefully return to the old normal.