No Trick-or-Treating? 3 awesome alternatives to celebrate Halloween

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With the way things are going, it looks like trick-or-treating will be on pause this year. With the province’s pandemic response system now at the Orange or “restricted level, it will be wiser to opt for safer ways to celebrate the holiday.

Not going to risk it for candy

Plans for Halloween parties have probably been scrapped by now due to gathering limits and physical distancing requirements. Some are still holding out on the hope that trick-or-treating can still happen. But if going door to door, gathering candy from strangers seems like the perfect recipe for a COVID disaster to you, then choose the safer option. With a little preparation and creativity, you and your kids can still have good, clean (emphasis on the clean) Halloween fun. Here are some suggestions:

Skype- o-Ween

Hold a Halloween party over Skype or Zoom and invite all your kid’s friends. Set a theme and ask them to wear costumes. Prepare some activities and games that can be played virtually like Bingo, two truths and a lie, Trivia Night (get your questions from the Random Trivia Generator), Pictionary (Pictionary Word Generator), or “bring me” (the game master asks participants to get certain items that they can find around the house. The first one to show it on camera, wins). Depending on the number of participants, they can play as individuals or in groups if you’re using Zoom (use breakout rooms). Declare game champions and have special prizes for “best costume,” for example. Prizes and goodie bags can be sent off to the kids after the event.

Family home adventures

If you’re tired of everything virtual, you can have an in-person celebration but make sure to keep it within your bubble. Observe current public health orders and do it outdoors when weather permits. Some example activities:

  • Family Game Night or a Halloween Scavenger hunt – Make a pirate’s map for your kids and provide cryptic clues so they can find the “treasures”. These can be candies or toys hidden all over your house or in your backyard. Check Pinterest for sample maps and clues or get ideas here: Party Plan (you can download their free card clues but you’ll need to provide your name and email address).
  • Scary Movie Night – Get your popcorn and drinks ready and binge-watch two to three horror movies. If your kids are too young or if they’re not into scary movies, build a bonfire in your backyard instead and tell stories all night long (some s’mores will be good too!).
  • Piñata Party – If you need to satisfy your kids’ candy cravings, fill a Halloween-themed piñata with candy. Your kids can take turns whacking the piñata and collecting the goodies later.
  • Arts and crafts/baking night – Make scary masks, drawings or make the piñata for your party. You can also choose to bake treats like cookies and muffins with your kids (with Halloween icing decorations of course).
  • Scary photobooth – Make your own Halloween background, get into costumes then take photos and selfies. Post them on social media or have them printed for your family photo album.

Make or watch a “spook-tacle”

Turn up your decorating powers to the max this year and go big on your Halloween home décor. This way, you still get into the spirit of the celebration even if you can’t invite people in. It’s a great year to make your house look cool and haunted for neighbours to admire from a distance.

If you would rather go to a haunted house than make one, you and your family can visit several haunted attractions (amusement parks) around Manitoba like the Haunted Forest (A Maze in Corn), Six Pines Haunted Attractions, and Heebie Jeebies (please note that some of these attractions are not for young kids). These outdoor parks will be observing strict COVID-19 policies such as physical distancing, frequent sanitation, limited occupancy as well as mask-wearing. Check other attractions here: Haunted Attractions in Manitoba (To do Canada).

If you’re still planning on trick-or-treating

If your kids are raring to go and your neighbourhood offers safe options, then go for it. Make sure to stay updated about Public Health Guidelines and ensure that you and your kids will be healthy and safe. Some tips:

  1. Don’t mix contact with one bubble to another. Kids and parents should be walking only with members of their household.
  2. Stay within your neighbourhood to limit the probability that you’ll visit a riskier area (with more COVID-19 cases).
  3. Wear masks. Masks that are part of Halloween costumes may not be sufficient to protect your kids. Make sure that they are wearing non-medical masks that fit well and are secure.
  4. Make them wait for their turn. Ask your kids to wait until trick-or-treaters ahead of them are done getting their candy before approaching the house or porch.
  5. Avoid touching surfaces like door knobs, door bells or hand rails at the houses you visit.
  6. Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer.
  7. Ask kids not to eat the candy along the way. Gather their loot and sanitize/wipe before giving them back.
  8. Don’t forget basic Halloween safety practices like crossing the street cautiously, bringing a flashlight and not going inside stranger’s homes. Read Tips to keep Halloween safe and fun for everyone for more advice on choosing costumes and safe trick-or-treating.

Safe options for giving out candy
Option 1: Prepare separate bags of candy for kids to easily grab outside your door. Don’t use a bowl with a mix of candy inside because it will mean multiple hands reaching in and spreading germs/viruses.
Option 2: Hand out candy making sure that you’re not too close (make them hold out their treat bags or pails). Handle the candy with gloved hands and tongs.
Option 3: Use a fun contraption to give candy out. Some parents are making candy chutes, zip lines or dressing up as robots to minimize contact with the candy and trick-or-treaters.

Stay tuned for developments and public health directives. Check Restoring Safe Services for the latest guidelines. Have a safe, healthy and fun Halloween!

Sources: Time to start thinking about new ways to celebrate Halloween, Winnipeg epidemiologist says, Joe Scarpelli, Global News; and Is Halloween cancelled because of COVID-19? What parents should know, Al Donato, Huffpost. Accessed September 17, 2020.

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Community Resources

If you didn’t celebrate Halloween in your home country, the occasion may be confusing to you. Read Why do we celebrate with pumpkins, ghouls and scary stuff on Halloween? to know its origins.

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