The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 that began in the winter of 2019-20 forced governments across the globe to issue social distancing mandates designed to stop the spread of the virus. Such mandates included restrictions on the size of gatherings, and those restrictions remain in place in many places across the globe.
Halloween celebrations are social by nature, so celebrants will have to get creative if they want to show off their costumes and cash in on candy in 2020. While Halloween 2020 will likely include some type of foray into uncharted territory, one relatively recent Halloween tradition seems tailormade for a socially distant Halloween.
Trunk-or-treating is a popular Halloween tradition in suburbs and rural areas where homeowners’ nearest neighbors may be not be within comfortable walking distance. During trunk-or-treat celebrations, kids still get to walk around, show off their costumes and go home with candy, but they do so in a more controlled setting. That control makes trunk-or-treating ideal for a socially distant Halloween, and the following are some ways parents can pull off such an event in a way that’s safe and fun.
• Host the event in a big parking lot where it’s easy to stay socially distant. Trunk-or-treats can take place in suburban neighborhoods, but that might make it difficult for participating kids and their parents to stay six feet apart from other families. If possible, arrange to host the event in a large, empty parking lot so kids can walk from one car to the other without compromising social distancing regulations. Make sure cars are at least six feet apart, and ideally even further apart so families can comfortably maintain their distance from one another.
• Limit participants. Organizers should limit the number of participants so everyone involved can safely stay six feet apart. If the event is in your neighborhood, residents can organize separate events on a street-by-street basis so kids only visit trunks on their streets. If the event will be in a large parking lot, encourage parents to sign up early and let them know only a limited number of cars will be allowed to park in the lot and participate in the event.
• Create an agespecific schedule. An age-specific schedule can help participants have fun and reduce their exposure to other people. Halloween 2020 is on a Saturday, so trunk-or-treat organizers can stagger the times kids are out and about throughout the day. For example, kids between the ages of three and five can trunk-or-treat from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., while those between the ages of six and 10 can trunk-or-treat from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and so on.
• Encourage all participants to wear masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that masks can slow the spread of COVID-19 by protecting Halloween celebrants from people who have the virus but are asymptomatic. Masks also can reduce the likelihood that asymptomatic people unknowingly spread the virus to others. Traditional Halloween masks typically have holes for people’s noses, mouths and eyes, so they won’t be effective in the fight against COVID-19. Parents and youngsters participating in trunk-or-treat events should wear masks that cover their noses and their mouths and fit snugly against the sides of their faces.
Halloween 2020 may be different, but there are still safe, fun ways to celebrate this beloved holiday.