Halloween is fast approaching, and this year will be like no other. Unfortunately, the more traditional ways of celebrating this Fall holiday include high-risk behaviors and activities that should be avoided. According to the Center for Disease Control, door-to-door “trick or treating” is a big no-no, as are indoor gatherings with anyone but members of your household. All measures to avoid COVID-19 infection remain in place – masking, social distancing and hand washing.

Let’s get the “Don’t’s” out of the way…

1. Do not use costume masks in place of cloth masks, if you are venturing out.

  • Do not use a costume mask (such as for Halloween) as a substitute for a cloth mask unless made of two or more breathable fabric layers that cover your mouth and nose and don’t leave gaps around your face.

  • Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

2. Do not gather indoors with people outside of your household or social pod. According to the latest reports the spike in new COVID cases is due to small group indoor gatherings. Stay informed about the latest trends in your area and proceed accordingly.

3. Do not accept candy or treats from persons outside of your household. Scientists have confirmed that the transmission of the coronavirus is airborne. While less is known about transmission through touching surfaces, there is still some risk involved. Consider alternatives to traditional house to house trick or treating like Scavenger Hunts inside or outside near the house. Kids love to cook and if “Swamp Soup” (oodles of noodles + green food coloring) is on the menu, it really entertains. And there isn’t a kid anywhere who doesn’t like to bake and decorate cookies or cupcakes.

For more detailed recommendations, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

Now for the fun stuff…

1. Do decorate. Starting with pumpkins and ghosts, the sky’s the limit when it comes to decorating inside and out. Once you have your requisite jack’ o lanterns (if you are carving your own, don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting, and they can be sweet or salty) you can be creative with Halloween themed accessories.

Tiny ghosts are easy with tissues and ties, and pillowcases can be put to use by taping on construction paper eyes and scary mouths for temporary ghouls and goblins. Black construction paper is all you need for a cat, bats, and spiders. If you don’t want to spend money on the commercial white spider webs, yarn or string can do the job. And you can never go wrong with balloons, so adding orange and black ones will add to the festive spirit.

2. Do dress up. Yes, most kids love candy treats, but dressing up is half the fun. And even though kids have Zoom fatigue at this point, they love to show off their costumes and are curious about others masquerades as well. If you can’t be sure that outdoor parties and parades will maintain safe, six-foot distancing, then Zoom or FaceTime is the way to go. Consider getting in the act with family-themed costumes. Modeling a positive attitude about a Halloween that is restrictive but fun will go a long way to help kids make the most of it.

3. Do dance. The best part about having a Halloween themed Dance Party is that you can have one every night in October. You can work on your moves until the virtual Zoom costume party on the 31st. Make sure the following tunes are on your playlist: Monster Mash, I Told the Witch Doctor, and of course Ghostbusters.