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Trick or treating during the pandemic

2020 has been a year for the books. Now as we start our descent into the holiday season, Halloween is coming up quickly and kids still want to trick or treat. How can we still make Halloween as fun as it has been in the past? We've gathered some tips for going out and for staying in. To start, here are some alternatives to trick or treating.

Scavenger Hunts

This is a fun idea that practices social distancing, but still provides the excitement of getting all that candy! You can place mini candy in little plastic pumpkins you can find at the dollar store. Hide them around your yard or inside the house for an adventure.

Neighborhood Parade

Organize a small parade for the children to show off their costumes to friends and neighbors. When you return home, dig in to the candy you've purchased for the family.

Trick or Treat Indoors

If you have a larger family, you could all dress up in costume and let the kids "trick or treat" at their siblings' bedroom doors. Everyone can take a turn going from bedroom to bedroom, knocking and asking for a treat.

If you just can't miss traditional trick or treating this year, here are some tips to make it as safe as possible:

Hand Sanitizer

While gloves have been worn this year to protect against COVID-19 transmission, remember that they work only if you don't touch your face. The germs aren't reaching your hands, but touching your face will spread them, making it easier for them to enter through eyes, nose and mouth. Hand sanitizer can be clipped to your child's candy basket so that they can use it in between houses.

If you are giving out the candy, providing hand sanitizer helps everyone keep transmission rates down.

Handing Out Candy

A new idea that has come out is to craft a "candy chute" to promote safe social distancing. Many sites have instructions on how to create these.

Sit behind a card table to practice social distancing. Ensure the distance between you and trick or treaters is at least 6 feet. Decorate the table to go along with your own Halloween theme. Spread the candy out all over the table, separating the pieces, or you can create small gift bags for the children. Don't let them dig into a bowl of candy, and ensure all candy is wrapped.

The CDC recommends that everyone get a flu shot. This year, concerns over a second wave of COVID-19 cases are high. The more illness that can be prevented, the easier it is for medical services to properly treat all those who are ill.


Planning your child's costume in advance will help prevent last minute problems when they get dressed up for Halloween. Masks should be worn, but the type does matter this year. Rubber masks are not a good choice to wear alone, a fabric or surgical mask is appropriate for minimizing the spread of germs. Many sites offer Halloween inspired masks to go with your child's outfit.


Some familes prefer to puruse neighborhoods with mansions to get the full size candy bars. This year, it's best to keep it close to home to discourage the transmission of more germs from one area to another. You are around these people more often. Trick or treat with your "pandemic pod" made up of people you see and interact with on a regular basis.

Limit the number of houses you visit to reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus. Parents should accompany all children to ensure they are following social distancing guidelines and using hand sanitizer after every home.

Check Local Restrictions

Regulations vary by state and even county. Ensure you are adhering to all guidelines and rules prior to venturing out for Halloween.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to it, don't participate in activities that will bring you in close contact with others. You shouldn't hand out candy either.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate the holiday this year, make it memorable.


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