Halloween & COVID-19: Have Fun While Staying Safe

Halloween is such a blast. You get to come up with a costume, decorate pumpkins and go trick or treating with your friends. Hi everyone. Scoop the Cub Reporter here from The Shady Pines Gazette news.Breaking News My editor, Zulah Talmadge, gave me this assignment becuase she knows I think this holiday is really cool.
But I know the spookiest day on the calendar is going to be different for most of my neighbors in Shady Pines. Some traditions are probably going to change a little to keep everyone safe during the COV​ID-19 pandemic. That’s my assignment. I want to know how are folks going to have fun and still avoid the scare of being exposed to or spreading the virus?

So here’s the first thing I found out when I talked to an infectious disease doctor from nearby River City. Dr. Kelly Claiborne told me that you should keep doing what you have been doing: avoid large gatherings, keep a distance of six feet from others, wearing cloth face coverings (think superhero!), and wash your hands often.

Virtual costume parties & parades

Here’s something else the good doctor told me. We’re all using video to talk to one another these days. So, why not use video chats for an online party with friends and family and show off costumes? You can play games, too. Have fun with it! Outdoor costume parades are another way to go. You just have to remember to stay at least 6 feet apart and wear cloth face coverings. There are a lot of new Halloween masks out there that cover your nose and moth.

Spooky Movie Night

You could do what my friends and I did last year. We made Halloween into spooky movie night and we dressed up like our favorite characters. Dr. Claiborne says you can do this, too, as a family at home. Or, your child can watch with their friends while video chatting. Just make sure everyone starts the movie at the same time. To make it easier for you I looked up tips on finding age-appropriate movies for your child. Read more here.

Decorating pumpkins

This is one Halloween tradition that’s as safe and fun as ever. You just have to be careful. My buddy, Tommy, cut his finger a couple of years back. He was OK, but it was kinda scary at first. Dr. Claiborne says if you have young kids you can always have them draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting. And, just to be on the safe side, try using a battery-operated light rather than an open-flame candle inside the pumkin when you finish.

Halloween-themed treats

My mom is always coming up with great Halloween treats. One year we decorated a pizza with toppings in the shape of a jack-o’-lantern. She also made some killer cupckes that looked like ghosts. Those were pretty cool. We’ve even done popcorn with red peper and parsley flakes for color and “doughnuts of doom.” I’m sending you the recipe for those and some treats you might want to make for yourselves. GO HERE

Outdoor community events

Here’s something else to do. You can look for events in your community that are focused on safe ways to have fun. Check out your local parks, arboretum, zoo or other outdoor venues to see what they might be doing this year.

One thing all the experts agree on is that you should avoid indoor events like haunted houses. In Shady Pines we’re going to have a haunted pumpkin patch near this really big old house. It’s close to Stonewall Park. We’re working on making the lighting super spooky! Everyone will have to wear a mask and we’ll have a one-way path through the area.

If your kids will be outside, mark their costumes with reflective tape. Oh, and make sure to tell them to be careful around cars. Drivers may not see them. Make sure shoes fit well and that their costumes are short enough they won’t trip on them.

Trick-or-treating in​ your community

Mayor Beauregard Fibbs is discouraging Trick-or-treating in Shady Pines. If it’s still on in your neighborhood, experts want you to avoid large groups or gahtering at doorsteps.

If you’re the one handing out treats, consider sitting outside if you can. Get everyone to line up individually. I’m finding out it’s really best to have prepacked treat bags for the kids. Don’t forget to wear your own mask!

How much touching objects spreads the COVID-19 virus isn’t clear. If your kids collect treats from a few, socially distanced neighbors, you may want to wipe the packages when you get home. And, yeah, washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before and after trick-or-treating is always a good idea.

​Remember

Hey, here’s the deal. Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic is another reminder we live in challenging times. It means everyone is coming up with new twists on favorite family traditions. We’re having to be really creative. Even our Halloween costumes and the way we dish up candy is being re-thought. None of this is a bad thing.

We’re lucky to live here. Shady Pines is a place where we come together to solve problems. We respect other people’s points of view. But we have to fight this vius any way we know how.

I guess what I’m learning from experts is this. Holiday or no holiday, when adults are being positive and doing the right thing it’s a good thing for kids to see.  They’ll start making good choices, too. So, this Halloween, let’s all have some scary good fun and think about the safety of others at the same time!

-Scoop out