Halloween Fun in the Time of COVID-19

For most families, Halloween will be spun on its head (imagine the scary scene in The Exorcist!). The only thing scarier than ghosts and ghouls is COVID-19 spread. But social distancing and mask regulations don’t have to slash your family’s Halloween fun. There are plenty of entertaining and innovative ways to take in the spooks and treats of the season while also
protecting your family and community. 

In our house, Halloween is a family favorite. It’s a night where we all get to be someone or something different – whatever we want! From superheroes to video game characters, we enjoy spending the night out on the hunt for all of our favorite treats. But this year, our celebrations will look a bit different – okay, a lot different. 

My oldest son is a baseball player – a real one. So, we’ll be spending a lot of the weekend watching him play in a local tournament. Go Mustangs! Although, when we’re not out rooting for him on the field, we’ll be making new Halloween traditions to the tune of spooky music (cue the Monster Mash).

Since we’ll be forgoing trick-or-treating, we’re going to fill up our Halloween night with a pumpkin-decorating contest while we watch our favorite classic Halloween movies. The boys will be wearing multiple costumes from Halloween past, I’m sure. Why be one superhero when you can be three? 

The CDC cautions against traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, but there are ways to get your fill of tricks and treats at home. Plan a Halloween bake-off between the family to get the kids involved in making some Halloween treats. Or, tap into the power of Zoom and show off your pumpkins, treats or costumes to family and friends online. Parents can also coordinate a Halloween scavenger hunt around the house or yard for the kids to seek out candy in a different way.

For parents and families who do plan on trick-or-treating, aim for ways to integrate a cloth mask into your child’s costume. If your kid’s costume already includes a face covering, make sure it has two layers as those provide better protection. If it doesn’t, try to find or make a mask that matches the theme and colors of the costume. Instead of answering the door for trick-or-treaters, consider leaving pre-wrapped goodie bags at the end of your driveway for kids to grab and go. Or, for the health and safety of you and yours, leave the porch lights off this year.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy breaking the news to my younger son. Like many other kids in our community, he’s disappointed he’ll miss a year of ringing doorbells. We’re doing our best to make it up to him. When you’re a kid, Halloween is a day you look forward to all year, and you tend to forget that there will be more Halloweens to come. So, when we told him that we would not be trick-or-treating this year, we made sure to remind him that we will celebrate Halloween next year by doing all the things we can’t do this year. 

Don’t let this Halloween be a bunch of hocus pocus. Focus on family and making new traditions. The safer we celebrate this year, the sooner we can get back to life as we knew it before the pandemic.

Matthew B. Brown is the communications program manager for the City of Reno and a dad of three. A Reno resident since 2003, Brown has a love for all things Nevada.

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