Hallowe’en during COVID-19

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Great Expectations

Hallowe’en is one of those extra special holidays for kids. My kids look forward to every single holiday each year. It’s easy to see why: ridiculous amounts of candies/gifts; dressing up fancy, and fun surprises. These are the beautiful, magical parts of childhood. Like many kids (and retailers), my kids plan ahead for months for:

  • Valentine’s Day – dressing up in (typically pink) outfits, not to mention the fun of preparing cute cards and candies for their classmates (and myself remembering the joy of receiving those 80s era cut-out paper cards from my besties);
  • Easter – finding chocolate eggs during our household scavenger egg hunt (or if nice weather a backyard hunt – although caveat is that you can end up finding chocolate eggs several months later in the garden!), and of course, all while wearing bunny ears;
  • Hallowe-en – definitely the biggest candy haul of the year going house-to-house, and the experience of visiting pop-up costume stores like Spirit (last year our kids were the Grim Reaper, complete with a 5-ft sickle, and a zombie princess, made “dead” with dark circles around the eyes and pale skin);
  • Christmas – dressing up fancy and putting out cookies and carrots for Santa and the reindeer, followed by the very early Christmas morning gift-opening tradition. Oh and often there’s custard trifle and maybe also a pumpkin pie in the picture;
  • New Years Eve – a new addition to the list this past year; the kids actually stayed up past midnight watching the Times Square ball drop (a preview into the adult obsession of singing Auld Lang Syne and drawing up new years’ resolutions on Jan 1).

Will Trick-or-Treating Be Cancelled?

Now that we are nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the case numbers are continuing to rise globally and the globe is now approaching 27 million cases. Thankfully, Canada has fared quite well due to quick government response and citizens obeying the initial lockdown orders (we Canadians believing in the constitutional tenets of “peace and good government”). We’ve had just over 130K cases, which is of course much fewer than countries like the U.S. (over 6 million cases). Unfortunately, our case numbers are trending upward again in the large provinces including Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. This is so disappointing given the start of school is imminent, and that will only make the numbers spike even further.

So how will Hallowe’en work this year? Will trick-or-treating be cancelled? I can’t even fathom this, especially after the kids have endured such a strange summer – the cancellation of all their summer camps, not to mention not going to Orlando on our planned trip. So, just as we had to adjust our summer plans – including going on a roadtrip to explore Northern Ontario which is spectacularly beautiful, and enrolling in virtual STEM summer camps – Hallowe’en must go on… somehow!

Staying Safe While Having Fun on Hallowe’en

How can we still celebrate this special holiday while keeping our children and the community safe? This will take some creative thinking and a whimsical attitude. Of course, critical safety measures will have to apply, including:

  • Ensuring everyone is wearing a mask (could be a costume mask as long as it’s covering mouth, nose and chin);
  • Walking in a group of only family or social circle;
  • Staying 2 metres away from anyone outside circle;
  • Letting candy rest for 24 hours or more before unwrapping and consuming.
  • Washing hands before eating candy;

Some other safe ideas include:

  • Having a Hallowe’en party at home with your social circle;
  • Leaving out a bowl of candies or, better yet, grab bags on your driveway or porch;
  • Setting up a scary front yard which can be enjoyed from afar;
  • Virtual parades – sharing costume pics on social channels, or having a video party with best friends.

And Now for Something Completely Different

If I’m thinking outside the box, here are some other wacky ideas I came up with, which maybe aren’t so wacky given the many innovations and industry disruptions caused by COVID-19:

  • Drive-through candy pick-ups (maybe far-fetched but if we can make this work for movies and basketball playoff celebrations, then why not for Hallowe’en?);
  • Hallowe’en delivery (applying the popularity of Uber Eats and DoorDash, could candy/food/supply retailers offer incredible Hallowe’en-in-a-box packages?).

I’m looking forward to trying some of these ideas out. I think we are all finding ways to adapt and keep having fun – Hallowe’en will be no exception. Stay spooky and keep safe! 🙂

  • Yum

I'm a Canadian mother of two with a passion for food and cooking. I'm increasingly discovering that delicious food can also be healthy! So, I am sharing my favourite recipes with like-minded home cooks. Along the way, I'll also be writing about food-related topics such as gadgets, books and television. Let the culinary adventures begin!

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