Credit: JiaYing Grygiel
If you’re going out
Did you hear that Los Angeles County banned trick-or-treating for a hot second? They backtracked on that less than a day later and now trick-or-treating is “not recommended.” The CDC has also said that traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is to be avoided.
So let's make trick-or-treating not traditional: It's outside, everyone can wear masks and no one needs to get close to people outside their family. We can absolutely pull this off while strictly following COVID safety rules.
Our family's usual Halloween game plan involves descending on the local business district where swarms of costumed kids parade around and demand free treats. That's not happening this year. Instead, we plan to go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood — with some tweaks. Having an awesome and safe experience will take some coordinating with your neighbors.
Fostering a united community at a fraught moment and in the name of more candy? Yes, please!
Touch-free trick-or-treating ideas:
- Rally your block or your HOA into organizing neighborhood trick-or-treating. Designate one side of the street for walking one way and the other side for the other way, so you’re not bumping into other families. Agree that only one family at a time stops in front of a house. (If you're in the city of Seattle and live on a non-arterial street, you can even apply to close your block for the evening!)
- Build a candy chute out to the street with a long piece of PVC pipe running from your door out to the sidewalk. Spray paint it black and wrap it with festive lights if you like. For the big day, wear gloves and a mask to send contact-free candy down to the chute to trick-or-treaters. Bonus points for leaving hand sanitizer at the bottom of the tube.
- Definitely skip grubby kid fingers pawing through a big bowl of candy. Try clipping candy to the branches of a tree, a hedge or a fence in your yard. Or you can set out individual candy-filled snack bags so kids can grab one and go. Or set up a treat table at the end of your driveway and scatter candy on it. You can watch from the porch, enjoy the costumes and refresh the candy as needed.
- Make your yard into a cardboard graveyard, and sprinkle light sticks and candy around so kids can run through and grab their treats.
More outdoor ideas:
- Organize a socially distant costume parade. If you live on a pedestrian-friendly street, close down the street so the kids can strut their stuff, six feet apart, while everyone “oohs” and “aahs” at all the cute and clever costumes.
- Go all out decorating your yard! Invite your neighbors to join you in tricking out their houses, Halloween-style. Make your street a Halloween version of Candy Cane Lane and invite everyone to vote for the spookiest house on the block.
- Or just dress up and walk around the neighborhood waving to people. Candy isn’t even the main attraction for us — it’s the excitement of showing off our costumes and seeing everyone else’s.
- Do a Halloween goodie bag exchange with friends and neighbors. Drop off pre-packed treat bags, everything individually wrapped and sealed, at their doorstep for a sweet surprise.
- If you do accept candy from neighbors or friends, wear gloves or bring hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes. Let the candy sit for a couple of days before you eat it if you like.
- If you’re concerned, just buy your kids their own candy this year. Give your kids a piece of candy for every house you pass to wave to neighbors so they have something to sort when you get home.