What does trick-or-treating look like during a global pandemic?
It seems that no one knows for certain.
Personally, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and while I deem myself too old to go trick-or-treating, I still love to celebrate. It is a staple memory from my childhood, and it saddens me that there are children who will have to miss out on the excitement of the holiday for the foreseeable future.
I remember the excitement and anticipation of getting dressed up in a costume I had planned for what seemed like months. The best costumes were the ones I coordinated with my friends so we could all go trick-or-treating as a themed group. My favorite part of Halloween was not actually trick-or-treating, it was trading all the candy I did not like with my sisters.
This year, kids will still be excited because it’s Halloween, but their anticipation and expectations will, unfortunately, be lower. Most likely, kids will only be going out with their families, not their friends. Trading candy at the end of the night would be too dangerous in terms of sharing germs.
If done safely, Halloween this year could be an unconventional yet enjoyable event. However, if celebrated unsafely and ignorantly, it could lead to a rise in cases and expose people who have otherwise been safe and cautious.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that Halloween is obviously going to look different this year.
The closest thing to actual trick-or-treating the CDC suggests is packaging individual goodie bags and placing them at the end of a driveway for families passing by to take. This way, there is a significant decrease in hand-to-hand contact, and the exposure is limited because there will be less interaction through dialogue. Placing the goodies at the end of a driveway prevents germs from being brought inside the house.
I envision people setting out a table with individually packaged Ziploc bags with candy inside for trick-or-treaters, accompanied on the table by hand sanitizer. Also, somehow incorporating gloves and masks into costumes will be a necessity this year.
While celebrating is a lot different this year, it is also important to understand that during these times of isolation and heavily decreased social activity, it is beneficial to our mental health to engage in safe holiday celebrations.
If you so desire, celebrate with a small group of people you have seen regularly so that you are not exposed to new germs and so you do not spread germs that you carry.
The coronavirus is still very real, and we must not sacrifice our safety, but socializing in safe settings is still beneficial to our mental wellbeing.