(BPT) – Every year, you count down the days until Halloween. You love selecting costumes for your whole family, indulging in all your favorite treats and celebrating with friends. But this year is different — while you long to celebrate the holiday to the fullest, you also want to make choices to keep your family and your community safe. Like many Halloween enthusiasts, rather than forgoing beloved traditions altogether, you are coming up with creative, out-of-the-box ways to celebrate safely and keep everyone healthy this season, but you still need some guidance.
The Halloween and Costume Association, The Hershey Company and other partner organizations have joined forces to provide guidance on how best to celebrate Halloween safely this year. The Halloween Safety guidelines — available on Halloween2020.org — are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Holiday Celebrations Guidelines and include a color-coded COVID risk level map, provided by the Harvard Global Health Institute.
“Families and policy-makers need clear and consistent information when it comes to COVID-19 risks to inform decision-making, including how to participate safely in the upcoming Halloween holiday and trick-or-treating activities associated with it,” said Dr. Ingrid Katz, Infectious Diseases Expert, and Associate Faculty Director at the Harvard Global Health Institute. “Through our interactive COVID risk level map, we hope to provide parents a reliable source to help them celebrate the Halloween holiday in the most safe, fun way possible according to the risk level in their community.”
With most of the country in the moderate risk category, it’s likely that many communities and families will find new ways to celebrate this year, including neighborhood trick-or-treat drive-ups, reverse trick-or-treating and neighborhood or backyard candy hunts. These creative celebration ideas allow for fun and safety to remain a top priority.
“Halloween is more important than ever this year as we navigate the new normal together and are seeking opportunities to celebrate safely. We’re inspired by the public-private partnerships and groups coming together that all have a shared value of celebrating Halloween safely,” says Chuck Raup, president, U.S., The Hershey Company.
The takeaway: There are many fun and safe ways to celebrate this Halloween season, from carving pumpkins to having Halloween-themed movie nights with your favorite Halloween treats like Hershey’s, Reese’s and Kit Kat.
Focus on trick-or-treat safety. A Halloween neighborhood parade is a good option for yellow zones. Organize a neighborhood costume parade where the route is predetermined and marked to maintain safe distances between participants. Stay safe by incorporating sanitization stations, yellow caution tape, 6-foot sidewalk stickers/tape and age group signs. Or, do the reverse and have kids decked out in their costumes in the front yard as neighbors walk or drive by and deliver candy from a safe distance.
For orange-zone communities, let the treats come to you. Trick-or-treat in reverse by having kids wear their costumes in the front yard as neighbors walk or drive by and deliver candy. Another option is a trick-or-treat drive-by where you wear costumes and then drive to visit friends and family in costume and deliver some treats! Honk, text or shout upon arrival and deliver some treats or tricks in costume to your favorite folks!
At-home celebrations are safest for red zones. Consider planning a Halloween movie night or a virtual costume party. You can also make this a special time with a scavenger hunt throughout your home. Create different themed rooms throughout the house and send the kids on a scavenger hunt for fun swag. Hide candy, toys and prizes or even make some gift certificates to stay up late, choose the movie or eat an extra piece of candy. Keep the big kids engaged with trickier clues and fun age-appropriate rewards.
Even with the extra precautions and adjustments needed to ensure a safe celebration, Halloween 2020 still promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In fact, a Halloween such as this won’t happen again for at least another 152 years. Not only does Halloween 2020 fall on a Saturday, it also happens to be a full moon and daylight saving time. Additionally, the day occurs during a blue moon this year, the second full moon of October.