Safe Ways to Trick-or-Treat this Pandemic Halloween

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Parents, kids, and teachers all love a year when Halloween falls on a weekend night, and no one has to get up early for school the next morning suffering from a candy-hangover.

Well, as luck would have it, our pandemic-year Halloween is on a Saturday! We are all going to want to celebrate the occasion in some fashion. Your family’s health status, where you live, and what the local regulations are surrounding the community spread of COVID in late October, will likely determine if you decide to stay at home and keep your celebration and traditions contained, or you choose to take your kids out and wander the neighborhood in search of treats.

For those who will be headed out that night, there are plenty of creative ways to keep trick-or-treaters safe and healthy this year, with a little planning and a few precautions.

As always, kids should have an adult accompanying them, should stay on sidewalks unless they are safely crossing a street, and should wear or carry something reflective or bright, so they are easily visible to vehicles. This year, appropriate physical distancing, mask-wearing, and hand sanitizer will all join the list of needed safety measures.

So, how do we go about “distancing” the act of handing over and receiving Halloween treats?  One easy way is to set up an outdoor station on your driveway or front yard if you have one of those. Here in Arizona, we are lucky to usually have perfect trick or treating weather for Halloween, so sitting outside to give away candy is something that many of us already do.

Grab or borrow a folding table, some large delivery boxes, or even just a few chairs to set up a designated space where kids can easily take one treat, without touching anything else. Putting candy into small paper cups or individual bags makes it simple for a child to grab one and go.  Another option is to use kitchen tongs or some other type of “grabber” tool to hand over and drop a treat into a child’s treat container. Older kids may like you to just toss them a piece of candy right into their bag – a nice little test of your hand-eye coordination skills. Just be sure to wear your mask if kids will be getting within 6 feet of you.

Thankfully, Halloween is all about dressing up and disguises, so masks make perfect sense for almost every costume. Crafty types can find and sew colorful fabric masks to complete any look. Even plain surgical masks can be decorated and embellished to complement an outfit. Fabric paint, markers, feathers, jewels, flowers, and all kinds of small, lightweight items can be glued or pinned to masks to please every sweet or spooky character.

Adults who are chaperoning the kids should have plenty of hand sanitizer with them and should keep an eye out for those who may want to enjoy a treat before they get home. It is always best for kids to wait to start eating any candy until they are back home, have washed their hands, and an adult has done a check to see that nothing has been previously opened.

All of these safety protocols can be utilized in any celebratory Halloween setting – trunk-or-treat gatherings, small backyard parties, or neighborhood “drive-by” events.  Pre-measure out drinks and snacks or serve individual-sized items so that multiple little hands aren’t all grabbing from the same container.

While the bobbing for apples game will definitely have to wait for another year, with just a bit of creative pre-planning, it is possible to have fun and stay healthy this holiday.

Happy Halloween to all!

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