Halloween 2020: Safety Information and Trick or Treating Inspiration

Embarassingly, we still have Halloween candy leftover from last year. Not because we don’t love chocolate, but because we did SO MUCH trick or treating! Between Boo-Ha-Ha, HallowZOOeen, regular trick-or-treating, Gathering Place’s Sweets & Treats on Spooky Street…our baskets, plural, were literally throwing.

This year, with COVID, I’m not sure whether we’ll try traditional trick or treating. And by traditional, I mean “walking around the neighborhood in search of socially distanced candy distribution.” Thankfully, we don’t usually get that many trick or treaters (mostly because we’re out trick or treating ourselves during those prime hours), so I’m not even considering handing out candy.

However, we are signed up to attend Phil-O-Ween, which I’m so excited about! The last two times we’ve gone to Philbrook, I’ve thought, “I really wish they’d do a Halloween event in the gardens!” And guess what?! They are!

Plus, Gilcrease is hosting a Fall Festival on the Thursday before Halloween; Living Arts of Tulsa is taking pre-orders for free activity kits as part of their Día de los Muertos Festival…and there are a couple drive-thru trick or treat events I’m considering as well. So despite everything, it’s looking like we’ll be able to celebrate Halloween just as enthusiastically as ever. (Find TulsaKids’ list of Kid-Friendly Halloween Events HERE.)

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Started our Halloween festivities early, with a little face paint practice! Joss requested the “Zombie Kitty” look

Halloween Safety from the CDC

According to the CDC, “Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.”

They also have a helpful breakdown of low, moderate and high-risk Halloween activities. Find them here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

And some additional safety tips here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/halloween.html. Plus, they include some ideas for how to celebrate the holiday if you’re not going trick or treating. (But I’d recommend checking out Kristi Roe Owen’s CoronaWeen blog post as well!)

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Image from cdc.gov

My favorite part of the CDC’s risk factor breakdown is when it recommends to extend social distancing for activities “where screaming may occur.” Think watching a scary movie or going to a haunted trail ride.

Other advice that stands out:

  • Don’t consider a Halloween costume mask substitute for a face mask
  • Don’t wear a face mask over/under a costume mask, as that can make breathing more difficult. Instead, make the face mask part of your costume (CLICK HERE for a list of fun ways to do so!)
  • Bring hand sanitizer

It might also be a good year to avoid some of the more popular neighborhoods. I’ve gone trick or treating in Maple Ridge several years, as we used to rent in that neighborhood. It’s hard to imagine that many kids staying socially distanced for trick or treating. It’s PACKED! And there’s a good reason: the neighborhood goes all out on the decorations. I’d recommend taking a walk through Maple Ridge BEFORE Halloween, so you get to enjoy the creep-tastic decor. But head somewhere a little quieter if you’re still planning on going door to door.

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Bottom line: Use your BRAAAAAAAAINS! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is a higher risk Halloween activity, according to the CDC. So it’s still not the best idea. When the treats are individually wrapped and social distancing is happening, trick or treating becomes a moderate-risk activity. Below are some ideas for socially distanced candy distribution.

Socially Distanced Candy Distribution

If you’re planning to distribute candy on Halloween, you may already have a plan in place. But just in case, here are a few options:

1: Hand out individual goodie bags. 

This is the option listed on the CDC website. They caution people to wash hands thoroughly before bagging candy, and to make sure the bags are placed at least six feet away from the person distributing them. So you could have a table set up at the end of a driveway, for example, and let kids come by and just grab a single sack.

2: Halloween candy chute.

Fun fact: Joss and I made our own version of a socially distanced candy-distribution system for a recent scavenger hunt. It involved plastic easter eggs strung on a cord that wrapped around a chair and…let’s just say, it was not a huge success. Thankfully, more creative people than me have come up with better alternatives!

The Candy Chute appears to have been designed by a man from Cincinnati – at least, his is the post that went viral! This option is especially great if you have a long stair railing in front of your home, although I’m sure you could design something similar even if you don’t.

Basically, you just decorate a long pipe and shoot candy down it, making sure the trick or treaters know to place their bags at the exit. This article from the Washington Post goes into further detail. If you go this route, make sure to keep your mask on, wear gloves and change them frequently, as it does probably involve a lot of contact with individual pieces of candy.

3: Candy sticking.

This idea comes from another viral Facebook post. And I can’t see myself doing this if we had a huge amount of trick or treaters. But I guess it’s probably not any more time-consuming than making individual goodie bags.

For this, simply tape a piece of candy to a wooden skewer and stick them in your yard. Judging from a brief perusal of the post comments, people are very concerned about the skewers in the hands of children. From a practical standpoint of “I wouldn’t want to deal with a bunch of skewers in my kid’s treat bag,”…yeah. But you could always break the sharp ends of the sticks off, especially if it’s been rainy. I think you’d still be able to stick the skewers into the ground just fine.

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How do your pets react to costumes? Raven does NOT approve of face paint or wigs!

What are you doing for Halloween this year? Will you be trick or treating? Handing out candy? If so, what precautions are you taking? Leave your own creative ideas in the comments!


I’m very disappointed that I’ve missed my annual post on spooky kidlit! But if you’re looking for books that are just-the-right-amount-of-hair-raising, check out my previous recommendations here, here and here.

Sotw Halloween Pin

Categories: Spaghetti on the Wall