It may seem a little premature to talk about Halloween 23 days before the event, but if you have kids it may be one of the questions you are being pestered with. Unfortunately for me, my son, while he likes dressing up and running around the neighborhood, has decided that he does not want to collect candy. Apparently, treats like chips and gummies are only for one day a week and he prefers salty treats to sugary treats. This has always worked to my favour – I got to eat the candy!
With COVID-19, there has been much debate on whether it should proceed or not. People have different reasons for concern, such as if we can keep masks on under the costume masks or not, concerns over the candy and what might be picked up from touching and eating it. Of course, as the number of people who can congregate outdoors has decreased, travelling in groups will also be more problematic. As will the fact that I had visions of enjoying drinks with the moms this year while our 11-year-old boys went out on their own for the first time.
So, what is the risk, and should we be concerned with or look at planning? Well, the CDC has provided recommendations including differentiating lower risk from higher risk activities. On the low risk side, the good news is that pumpkin carving and house decorating are just fine – makes sense as this is usually done with household members only. If you want to carve with friends, then outside and appropriately distanced is also fine. If you are really organized and energetic you could consider a Halloween scavenger hunt and spend time in the neighborhood walking and admiring decorations or set up a scavenger hunt in your house. Alternatively, you could have a Halloween movie night. If you want to have Halloween-themed popcorn, mix some Frank’s Red Hot into your melted butter for a bloody effect. Trust me – you will never be able to eat popcorn without it again!
Moderate risk activities include giving out individually wrapped goodie bags and just line them up for kids to grab (wash you hands before packing them up!). Outdoor costume parties or parades could be considered as long as everyone keeps their distance and of course we need to adhere to the number of people that can be gathered. The CDC is not recommending that we put a costume mask over our protective face masks due to the increased difficulty of breathing. Going to a haunted house maze or an outdoor movie night with another family could be considered, but where screaming is likely you’ll need to stay more than 6-feet part.
The high-risk activities like traditional trick-or-treat and getting to hand the candy out, crowded indoor costume parties and travelling to rural fall fairs not in your community are things we need to consider staying away from this year.
For those that are concerned about contracting COVID-19 from the candy packaging, all science and data we have collected indicates that this is very unlikely. Person-to-person is the biggest threat for transmission. Continuing our vigilance is our best bet when it comes to eating candy and keeping COVID-19 free! Trust me on this, I have eaten a bag of candy or chips almost every weekend since April. It is my car ride treat on our way to the family cottage. Fill up the tank with gas, grab our treats and off we go!