Like most of 2020, Halloween is undoubtedly going to look a lot different from previous years. But different doesn’t have to mean worse—it just means we have to get a little bit more creative in trying to celebrate our more ghoulish tendencies.

While health authorities haven’t officially nixed trick-or-treating during the pandemic, they have urged people to exercise good judgement by taking proper precautions. Recent media reports include comments by Mayor Ed Holder and Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Chris Mackie, which highlight considerations in planning for Halloween. Recently, Ontario has rolled back some rules on social gatherings, and has even reverted three major areas in the province to modified stage 2 restrictions. You can read a CTV article here for more local details.

More than anything, people want to be able to let their kids have some fun again. A chance to allow—if even for just one night—their imaginations to run a little wild and forget about the virus that has upended any sense of normalcy. And even though doctors are advising against the typical door-to-door hunt for goodies, adapting past traditions to fit the times isn’t as difficult as one might think.

Keeping it Safe

As we move into the colder days of fall with the second wave in full swing, it’s important not to let our guard down. Take a look at these simple suggestions and find out how to minimize your risk of exposure while reveling in the spirit of the season:

  1. Consider individually wrapped goody bags arranged outside on a table for kids to grab as they pass by.
  1. Use tape or other markers to indicate where trick-or-treaters should stand in case a line-up appears at your doorstep. For more festive flair, use cobwebs, gravestones or skeleton bones placed at six-foot intervals as helpful reminders.
  1.  For trick-or-treaters, carry hand sanitizer and sanitize regularly throughout the night. 
  1. Keep gatherings small. Ontario’s current guidelines stipulate limits of 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors.
  1. Continue to wear medical grade or cloth face masks. Halloween masks are not suitable replacements for protection against the virus. If wearing a Halloween mask it is still recommended you wear a face mask underneath.

Still Concerned? Consider Going Virtual

If families are thinking about alternatives to traditional door to door  trick-or-treating, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control has some suggestions. These include:

  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest.
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home

For more ideas for virtual Halloween activities, visit the CDC's website.

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- The NWL Team

p.s. Always follow the guidelines of your local public health authority, and if something doesn't feel safe, then don't be afraid to skip handing out candy or trick or treating this year. Wishing you all a safe and fun Halloween!