Choosing costumes, decorating pumpkins, and getting special treats brings joy to many children at Halloween. Some Halloween traditions may look different this year to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are still plenty of ways families can have fun while avoiding the scare of being exposed to or spreading the virus. Most importantly, keep doing what you have been doing: avoiding large gatherings, keeping a distance of six feet from others, wearing cloth face coverings, and washing hands often. Some ideas for ways to keep safety steps in place while celebrating:
Virtual costume parties & parades Use video chats for an online party with friends and family and show off costumes and play games. Have fun with it! In cold climates, this may be the first time your child can wear a costume that isn’t buried under a parka! Outdoor costume parades are another option, if it is possible for everyone to stay at least 6 feet apart and wear cloth face coverings.
Making masks part of the costume Encourage children to use their cloth face coverings as part of their costume (think surgeon or superhero!). However, be wary of painting the masks, since some paints contain toxins. Also keep in mind that a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face covering unless it has multiple layers of breathable fabric and covers the mouth and nose snugly. Also, do not wear a costume mask over a cloth face covering, because it can make breathing more difficult.
Decorating pumpkins This is one Halloween tradition that’s as safe and fun as ever. As always, just be careful to avoid pumpkin carving injuries. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting. When the carving is done, consider putting a battery-operated light rather than an open-flame candle inside. Roast the seeds from the pumpkin for a healthy snack!
Halloween-themed treats Make some fun Halloween treats as a family. Decorate a pizza with toppings in the shape of a jack-o’-lantern, for example, or make tangerine pumpkins (peel the tangerine and stick a thin slice of celery on top to look like a stem). Make sure the treats are not choking hazards if you have children under age 3.