Spooky season is here, but you may be wondering if it’ll be quite as fun as usual this year. While every city and county will differ on their safety guidelines for Halloween 2020, those who want to give out candy should think ahead about how to hand out candy safely during COVID. Once your city announces its trick-or-treating rules — and you assess your personal risk level — you can decide the best way to hand out candy this year.
Hershey partnered with the Harvard Global Health Institute to create a resource for parents of trick-of-treaters and those who want to give out candy. Their website includes an interactive map where you can click on your county and learn which “zone” of COVID risk you’re in based on the average number of cases emerging each day. Then, you’ll find recommended Halloween activities for your zone.
However you decide to dole out candy, do your best to mix COVID precautions with some haunting Halloween spirit. Some solutions to safe trick-or-treating will take a little more preparation than years past (think: building a candy chute instead of just dumping all those mini chocolate bars into a bowl). But by going the extra mile to keep your neighborhood children safe, you’re helping them get back a little bit of normalcy in 2020.
1. Sit Outside
Doorbells become a high-touch surface on Halloween night, with every superhero and villain approaching your house giving it a poke. Instead of making kids use the bell, sit in your driveway or front yard and dish out candy outdoors. Besides, it’s easier for more kids to socially distance when they’re not lining up by the front door.
This printable DIY Halloween banner is the perfect last-minute, trick-or-treat table decoration. If you need to, mark your front walkway with duct tape to encourage kiddos to remain six feet apart.
2. Use Tongs
Grab a pair of tongs from your kitchen — or buy a fun pair of skeleton arm tongs — and bring them out front with you. Instead of putting your hands into the candy bowl, or having trick-or-treaters reach in one after the other, grab some goodies with your tongs to drop into their bucket or bag. This should help prevent any cross-contamination. Bonus points if you figure out a way to work them into your costume.
3. Build A Candy Chute
Andrew Beattie’s Halloween invention went viral this month, and you may have seen it, too. He created a candy chute out of a cardboard shipping tube and attached it to the handrail on his front stoop. Now, he can simply drop the candy through the opening at the top and trick-or-treaters can catch their sweets at the bottom from a safe social distance. His project would be easy to recreate with a PVC pipe if you don’t have a shipping tube on hand.
4. Create A Monster
This example from Twitter is pretty perfect. As a shield between you and trick-or-treaters, you can create a giant monster to pass candy through so that everyone’s germs stay in their own mouths.
5. Make Individual Goodie Bags
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines say one way to lower the risk COVID transmission during trick-of-treating is to line up individual goodie bags along your fence or in your yard for kids to pick up. Drop a few pieces of candy into small paper bags or cups, which you can set out on a folding table or work bench in front of your home
However you do it, letting trick-or-treaters pick up individually wrapped candies (without touching all the other pieces) is a great option, and you can sit far enough away to enjoy their costumes and wish them a happy Halloween.
6. Avoid Communal Candy Bowls
Just like buffets and salad bars are shut down during COVID, the communal candy bowl on your porch is probably a no-go. Kids who have been in their own homes, in and out of cars, and to other houses will be plunging their potentially unwashed hands into the bowl, and whatever is on their skin could brush up against pieces of candy that get left behind for the next trick-or-treaters.
If you want to leave out candy, try a fun display like this giant spider web with candy hanging inside from Halloween2020.org. In encourages kids to pick their favorite treat without touching all the rest.
7. Try A Drive-By Candy Toss
It’s hard to tell exactly who thought up the term #yeetthetreats, but it’s a pretty catchy, pretty genius idea. Coordinate with fellow parents in your neighborhood or kid’s friend group to have the kiddos sit out front, all dressed up. Other parents, family members, and neighbors can drive by and yeet some treats into the yard for kids to retrieve safely.
8. Wear A Mask
If the CDC has been clear about one thing since the pandemic began, it’s the importance of wearing a mask. So, if you plan to hand out candy in any way, it’s important to mask up then, too.
Search your favorite online makers’ profiles for Halloween-themed masks. Maybe you can find one patterned after your favorite character, or a funny Jack-O-Lantern face. This Resting Witch Face option is a real winner, too.
9. Make A Zipline
This zipline contraption went viral, and I can see why. Using a fun ghost connected, the inventors pop in candy and even a beer for the adults and send the ghost haunting down the zipline to the trick-or-treaters waiting on the sidewalk. Genius.
10. Get A Long “Pick-Up” Stick
You know those long sticks to pick up things? Use one of those to pass candy into trick-or-treaters’ bags and buckets.
11. Candy Chute From The Living Room
A porch candy chute is great, but if you want to stay on your couch, you can attach the chute from an open window to the front porch and distribute candy that way. Genius.
12. Take The Usual COVID Precautions
Keeping 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, and washing or sanitizing your hands often, are still important parts of preventing COVID transmission. But, with precautions in place and some creepy creativity, Halloween can still be hellraising-ly fun this year.
Etsy has lots of options for printable hand sanitizer labels that make it look like zombie repellent (and more fun for your kids to use). Cute hand sani holders make this safety step feel a little more festive, too.