2020…the year of cancellations. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we adapt. Fun activities are returning in safe and creative ways — drive-in concerts, anyone?

As summer fades to fall, families wonder: Can we have Halloween? The simple answer is yes, if everyone follows some basic safety measures.

The tips below apply to all ghouls and goblins, big and small!

  1. Ditch the Candy Bowl. Quite possibly the most important thing you can do is skip the "communal" candy bowl. Whether you usually hand out candy from the bowl or let kiddos dig in and grab their favorites, it's just too tricky for trick-or-treating this year. A candy bowl can't be contact-free. So what's the alternative? See #2.
  2. Grab-and-Go. Set up a table, decorate it if you wish, and place the wrapped candy out on the table individually, allowing kids to come up and pick their favorites without touching any other pieces. If you have the time and resources, you could even create small pre-wrapped goodie bags and encourage trick-or-treaters to each take one.
  3. Keep it Clean. If you set up a table, put hand sanitizer on it as well. Use it and offer it to others.
  4. Forget the Front Door. Having kids come up to your door to get candy will make social distancing tough. The safer bet is to stay outside during trick-or-treating hours (keep fingers crossed for good weather) so you can greet your neighbors safely from a distance while they get their candy from your table display.
  5. Mask Up. Halloween was tailor-made for masks! Make the mask part of your kid's costume. There are hundreds of themed cloth masks out there — finding Halloween-themed ones should be easy. Or you can also simply color a medical mask to blend in with their costume!
  6. Keep it Local. While the goal most years is to get to as many houses as possible and stuff that bag full of candy, this year it might be best to stay closer to home. If you developed a "pod" or "bubble" of close friends and family members, stick with visiting just those homes.
  7. Stay Small. If your kids are venturing out in the neighborhood, keep the group small. Maybe you usually head out with a bunch of neighbors, but this year think about keeping it to just one other family for easier social distancing.
  8. When in Doubt, Wait it Out. Using individually wrapped Halloween candy helps keep the chances of spreading the coronavirus fairly low. But if you really want to be on the safe side, let your kids' trick-or-treat candy sit for 48–72 hours. Keep a small stash of other Halloween candy on hand to offer them that evening instead.
  9. Decorate More and Celebrate at Home. If trick-or-treating is just too risky for your family, celebrate at home. Put out more decorations, turn on some Halloween music or movies, and let the good times roll in your own haunted house.
  10. Do What Works for Your Family. Bottom line: There is no one right way. As long as you stick to the three main rules — maintain social distancing, wear a mask, and keep hands clean — then the rest is really up to you, your family, and your neighbors.

Be safe, have fun, and Happy Halloween!

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