Carve out a fun, creative Halloween, while reducing risk

While this year’s Halloween, like so many other events and rituals in recent months, may not involve all the typical traditions, it can still be a howling good time for both kids and grown-ups.

Taking a bit of an “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach, published “14 Fun Halloween Costumes Inspired by the Pandemic.” For example, inspired by the classic children’s book, they offer up a One Fish, Two Fish Rainbow mask for covering nose and mouth, and on a somewhat related theme, a  “Who’s That Behind the Glass?” costume, essentially making the wearer appear to be a fish inside an aquarium, while providing a full face covering with a clear view. And while it might not be everyone’s choice, especially depending on how the virus has affected you and yours, they also show a little COVID virus costume,

A review of festivities is happening just about everywhere. Last week CNN published a report titled, “Halloween Is Going to Look Very Different During the Pandemic,” by Alexis Benveniste.

It notes that “last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Halloween safety guidelines, labeling traditional trick-or-treating as a ‘high risk activity.’” The CDC, a an alternative suggested “’one-way trick-or-treating,’ which involves dropping off individually wrapped goodie bags at neighbors’ and friends’ houses.”

Benveniste said that several major retailers took note by offering ‘boo bags’—bags of candy that are meant to be left at your friends’ or neighbor’s front doors, eliminating human contact.”

Along similar lines, Johns Hopkins offers “Halloween Tips for Spooky (and Safe) Fun During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” by Aaron Milstone, M.D., M.H.S. He suggests virtual costume contests and other online fun are the safest options. He says to “Avoid parties, haunted houses and other indoor group activities—especially when screaming is involved.” He expands on that, noting that “Screaming is a big part of Halloween, but it projects a lot of respiratory droplets.”

For those who do venture out for trick-or-treating, Milstone says, “Keep large groups of kids from crowding around the same door, especially if they’re shouting ‘trick or treat!’” And he also advises coaching kids that if they encounter candy givers or anyone else not wearing masks, wish them “Happy Halloween” and move on.

Milstone urges candy givers to wear mask and gloves and “toss the candy, or pre-fill goodie bags for physically distanced pickup on a sanitized table.” The article offers some fun options for treats.

Some traditions don’t really need much rethinking and can actually sharpen important skills. For example, carving jack-o-lanterns with adult help and supervision, as well as drawing faces and characters on pumpkins using markers, builds creativity and imagination as well as fine motor skills. You could organize a neighborhood contest. Some towns, schools, and organizations are even turning it into a fundraiser and/or prize drawing.

Though Halloween 2020 might look a little different than in past years, with some care and creativity, it can still be full of clever tricks and yummy treats.