Monday, October 26, 2020

Celebrating Halloween In The Pandemic

Schools, communities, and people are trying to figure out how to allow children to experience a traditional  halloween during these trying times. My local school usually has a carnival with lots of candy, games, and other things but we can't have one because the school is limiting the number of people in the building.  In a flash of inspiration, the student council suggested a Halloween parade through town.   

So on Saturday, October 31st at 5:00 PM, a bunch of decorated pick-up trucks, cars, four wheelers, and bicycles will take off and weave through town giving candy to kids on the side.  Of course, town is small so this is something that can be easily done but there are things that can be done to allow children to enjoy the day.

I've seen people on line working on creating candy dispersal systems so they can pass out candy to anyone who stops by while managing to maintain social distancing because door to door trick or treating is being discouraged.  It is hard to maintain social distancing when everyone is out and it is also hard to coordinate masks with costumes.  Fortunately, there are still ways to create a halloween experience.

First of all, one can go all out on creating the perfect yard for the holiday. String lights all over the yard, construct headless scarecrows and headless people to spread out across the yard. Then carve a bunch of pumpkins, place electric candles in them and scatter around the yard.  Invest in a fog machines to make it seem more eerie. Check your local stores for cobwebs, spiders, skeletons, and other traditional Halloween creatures to spread on trees, crawling out of bushes, or coming down from the roof.  Create an atmosphere and experience for everyone.

If you still want to give out candy, it is recommended you put candy in small, snack sized baggies and leave them on a table on the driveway so you can monitor the treats from your porch.  It allows you to quickly refill the bowl while maintaining proper social distancing.  Unfortunately, this does not work if you live in an apartment so leave the pre-bagged treats in an open box outside. 

Other possibilities are hanging the treats on a fence, bush, or tree so children can "Pick" their candy as they pass buy.  For those who do not feel comfortable allowing their children to go out trick or treating, hide bags of candy around the apartment or house so they can search for it, much like one does at Easter.  Speaking of Easter, take some of those plastic eggs you fill with candy, paint them with halloween themes, and fill with candy to place around the yard or house.  If you put a glow stick inside the egg with the candy, the whole egg takes on an eerie glow and is visible to children.

Do to the recommended social distancing, it is hard to have a traditional halloween costume contest but don't worry, it is still possible to have one using something like zoom, google meet, or something similar by creating a virtual contest.  If that doesn't appeal to you or you don't have the technical skills or band width, it is still possible to have a contest but turn it into a costume parade.  Just have everyone wearing a proper cloth face mask rather than the costume mask so the child does not experience problems breathing, and make sure children are at least six feet apart.  

If you have the space, think about a halloween scavenger hunt.  Give children a list of things to find and let them search for them.  This can be done by families in their year if the parents make sure everything is available.  

As I said, I'll be helping out with the school parade and will share candy with others during the parade.  At home, I'll lock my apartment door and ignore anyone who comes through.  Please practice wearing a mask and social distancing and stay well.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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