Across the country, everyone from major candy makers to towns that thrive on autumn tourism are preparing for a Halloween 2020 that’s more subdued than usual. While COVID-19 concerns have about 25 percent of adults saying that they don’t know what to expect this All Hallow’s Eve, per survey results from Morning Consult and the Harris Poll, 63 percent are ready to explore “creative, safe ways to celebrate” this year.
If you’re part of the latter group of revelers, follow these Halloween rules from the pros to make sure Halloween 2020 stays spooky, but not scary.
Halloween and Coronavirus: General Guidelines
As we all learn and adapt to the coronavirus, the truth is that Halloween 2020 is still up in the air. Speaking to CTV News in August, pediatrician Dr. Dina Kulik says, “COVID could be better by then. Perhaps there will be some sort of mutation like we saw with SARS. Or we could be back in lockdown. Nobody knows where we will be.” But just because we don’t have a crystal ball doesn’t mean that we can’t start brewing safe ideas harder than a witch brews toad eyes and bat hairs.
For one, the basics of coronavirus safety don’t change for the holiday. We know that masks work, and here we have a holiday that actively encourages mask wearing — so, if possible, encourage your ghouls to opt for a costume that covers the mouth and nose rather than going with makeup or a bare face this year. And no matter the situation, maintaining social distance, avoiding touching your nose and mouth and regularly sanitizing will always help keep the monsters at bay.
The Trick-or-Treat Question
Also, to CTV in 2020, epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan says that if the COVID caseload gets lower come October, “We can probably manage some semblance of trick-or-treat,” though precautions will still be necessary.
For instance, consider the idea of a no-contact trick-or-treat event. In this scenario, participating households would leave their lights on and place candy in a bowl near the front door, pre-sorting the treats into individual bags to cut back on surface contact. Taking a cue from the safety procedures practiced by businesses, taped-down walkway markers will help trick-or-treaters maintain social distance as they wait for sweets.
If you plan to offer contactless candy, provide hand sanitizer next to the candy bowl — and add a few drops of orange food coloring to spice it up for the season, or go with green or purple coloring to turn your sanitizer into slime-itizer.
Since the early days of coronavirus, health experts such as those at MIT Medical have recommended creating social bubbles or “quarantine pods” for families and kids to help combat social isolation, usually a group of 10 or fewer individuals who agree to limit their in-person activities to each other and trust the members to follow agreed-upon precautions outside of the group. For Halloween 2020, a party — or even a calendar of events like scary movie screenings, bake-offs or costume catwalks — within that social bubble could be an ideal solution to a safe celebration.
Outdoor events like open-air screenings of creepy classics — or a costumed trip to the resurgent drive-in for a slasher double-feature — also offer a safer alternative, as does a physically distanced Zoom-a-ween hangout. Even more creatively, charitable initiatives like the Halloween Fun Pack Project plan to celebrate by mail, sending kids who register a free package of candy and treats in late October.
Remember, different doesn’t always mean scary. Halloween has always been a time to get a little weird in the best way possible. This Halloween, coronavirus just means we’ll have to take our creativity to the next level as we celebrate all things macabre and sugary.
The New York Times: What Scares Salem? October Without Halloween
National Confectioners Association: New Survey Data: Halloween Is Happening and Americans Are Ready to Celebrate Creatively and Safely Throughout October
CTV News: Frightful: Could COVID-19 Cancel Halloween?
MIT Medical: Creating Bubbles That Work for Families and Kids
APG Chesapeake: COVID-19 Coverage: Whig Reporter: I Made My Own Hand Sanitizer
Alexandria Living: ‘What About Halloween?’ Parents Look for Alternatives to Traditional Trick-or-Treating
Halloween Fun Pack: COVID-19 Project