Now that fall is approaching, the question has been raised by kids and parents alike: is trick-or-treating canceled this year?
The current answer isn’t a clear yes or no, because it’s truly up to how comfortable someone is going door-to-door and possibly coming in contact with a large number of people while the threat of contracting COVID-19 is still a reality. However, if you do not feel safe trick-or-treating, there are still plenty of alternative activities that you can partake in.
Looking back at the past six months spent in quarantine, the Jewish holiday Passover occurred right at the height of the pandemic in early April. Instead of an in-person celebration, many people hosted a virtual Seder via Zoom, where they had the ability to connect with family and friends while managing to stay socially distant. While holidays may not look the same as they have looked in the past, it doesn’t mean that Halloween cannot be enjoyable while still being safe.
The CDC released a new set of Halloween regulations that recommend avoiding higher risk activities such as traditional trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating and indoor costume parties or haunted houses. They describe low risk activities as carving pumpkins with a small group of people outside, decorating your house and admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
“I definitely think Halloween this year is going to look different than it has in the past,” senior Josie Sotter said. “I don’t think it’s in everybody’s best interests to attend large gatherings, but I think smaller groups are okay.”
One idea for a socially distanced Halloween is a scary movie night. It’s an easy way to see friends from a distance and all you need is a laptop, projector or television. Sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and YouTube offer a countless number of options to choose from.
If you want to watch a scarier movie, “The Conjuring” or “IT” are two popular options. Other choices include something from the Harry Potter series, “E.T.” or “Goosebumps.” Throughout the course of the movie, you can snack on classic Halloween treats like candy corn and chocolate covered pretzels.
Another option is to spend the night making Halloween treats in the kitchen. There are tons of easy recipes online that require minimal ingredients and time. Some easy fall-themed recipes include candy corn cupcakes, Frankenstein Rice Krispie Treats, Halloween bark and pumpkin pie dip.
Once finished making all the treats, one can set up a dessert bar filled with handmade masterpieces. You can also follow a Halloween candy recipe and make enough batches to drop off at a friend’s house.
“I love making Halloween treats because fall is my favorite season and it really puts me in the mood,” sophomore Olivia Alvarez said. “There are so many cute recipes online that I like to make every year.”
Another way to stay safe while having fun this Halloween is by hosting a pumpkin decorating party, where each person gets their own small pumpkin to carve or paint. There are small kits that you can find online or in stores like Walmart or Target that have stencils and small carving tools. Everyone should have their own tools and workspace, so they can maintain distance between one another.
“Every Halloween I go to the pumpkin patch and pick a few pumpkins that I can carve,” sophomore Emma Betancourt said. “Usually I find a design online and I trace it onto the pumpkin with a sharpie.”
A quick last minute idea is a themed scavenger hunt. Many pre-made hunts can be found and printed from the internet. Kids of all ages can participate in this activity. It’s a way to stay spread out, yet still be with your friends or family. For instance, there can be a hunt that requires a sheet of things to find and check off, or you can give out the clues, one-by-one, and look for them.
Hosting a virtual costume contest where participants dress up in their costumes and people vote on different categories is an additional way to celebrate Halloween online. For example, the funniest costume, the best duo costume or the most creative costume could be some categories. You can play just for fun or play to receive a small gift such as a $10 gift card. Through apps like Skype, Zoom or FaceTime, it’s never been easier to connect with large groups of people, even if it’s not in-person.
“This Halloween, I was planning on just spending some time with my close friends,” Betancourt said. “Even though Halloween isn’t going to look the way it has in the past, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still have fun.”
There are a ton of ways to enjoy this upcoming fall holiday while still being responsible and following safety guidelines. Instead of going door-to-door to trick-or-treat, you can spend the night carving pumpkins outside, seeing close family or friends and baking classic sweet treats to drop off to others.