It seems after six months of putting my kids' social lives on hold, and forgoing our traditional summer vacation, and saying "no" to simple things like eating out at restaurants, COVID-19 is poised to potentially spoil the next fun activity on the calendar: Halloween. Of course, I suppose I could throw caution to the wind and just let my kiddos trick-or-treat as usual — I'm just not ready for that. With little hands reaching into common bowls and fishing out candy (yes, I know it's wrapped, but still . . . germs) and hordes of people flocking down the sidewalk in search of bigger, better Hershey bars, my nerves are already piqued, and Halloween is weeks away. That's why I'm formulating a plan to arrange alternate Halloween fun for my brood. I don't want them to have to give up candy and costumes — but fright night is going to look different in our house this year.
Firstly, I am encouraging my crew — kids ages 12, 9, 7, and 2 — to come up with costume ideas that incorporate a face mask. My little guy wants to be a garbage man, and I figure a face mask could work with that idea. My oldest daughter is hoping to dress up as a character from Friends. I'm still thinking about how to make that work.
Once we have the costumes figured out, I plan to buy each of my children a huge bag of candy. That way they won't feel cheated when I tell them I don't want their hands grabbing for any communal treats. Our Halloween-night strategy will be to either drive around or walk through our neighborhood and just be super careful about large crowds. My community goes all out with decorations, so even if the kids don't knock on doors, there's still a lot to enjoy. Since we will all be wearing face masks, and infections are lower in my area, I think it's OK if they want to hit a few houses. I'm not sure about letting them eat the candy, though — I'll simply remind them about the mother lode of goodies waiting at home.
Home is where we'll head if the crowds get a bit thick or if my little ghouls and goblins (and Monica Geller and a garbage man) can't wait another second to pig out on their favorite sweets. We'll wash our hands, then snuggle up and watch not-so-scary movies — we're still years away from Friday the 13th. I'll let everyone stay up late and watch for kids stopping by for candy — I love an idea I saw online (that the CDC approves of) to leave little bags of treats spaced six feet apart on the driveway.
In the end, I'm truly hoping this safety-minded Halloween won't be a letdown for my family but rather just a slightly different experience. We'll still eat way too many M&M's and SweeTarts. We'll still dress up and walk around the neighborhood — hopefully the kiddies will get a chance to see some friends from a safe distance and behind our face masks. But here's the bottom line: Halloween would be way too scary if we ignored the fact that we are facing a pandemic. To me, this approach feels like a happy medium between canceling Halloween and pretending the pandemic isn't even happening.