Happy Quarantine-o-ween! If nothing else, 2020 is challenging parents and guardians to get creative, Halloween doubly so. With the Cabell Huntington Health Department encouraging everyone to stay at home, it’s important to find ways to socially distance and still celebrate.

For many families, this year will be a difficult Halloween because we can’t enjoy the holiday the way we expected. However, for families with food restrictions, having everyone stay at home may actually take away some of the stress.

Kids with food allergies frequently either cannot participate in trick or treating or their parents have to get creative anyway, by replacing what they collect with treats they can actually eat. Kids with food allergies or diabetes may go home with a bag of goodies only to not be able to eat most of them.

A simple trade is to replace your eats with other kinds of treats. We recommend toys. Turns out, kids are not fond of getting pencils. Who knew? But bouncy balls, bubbles, army men, monster teeth, cars — these are winners. You can buy these in bulk at box stores or online retailers like Oriental Trading.

During a traditional year, you might indicate you are participating with foodless options by setting out a teal pumpkin.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement aiming to make Halloween more inclusive for all. But how do you get these foodless treats to kids during quarantine? Indywithkids.com suggest Drive-by Trick or Treating.

Community members can repurpose car parades to bring treats to the kids. Costume clad kids will wait in front of their homes for paraders to drive by and gently toss treats to them. Grab a teal-pumpkin cling or draw one on with window paint as part of your car-float decoration to let families know your treats are inclusive.

But there are plenty of ways to have fun even if you can’t get a community Treat Parade organized before Halloween.

One idea is 13 Days of Halloween. Like an advent calendar, each day families will open an envelope for a trick or a treat such as pumpkin carving, movie night with a popcorn bar (sporting additions like chocolate or seasoning), baking cookies, or making S’mores.

Team up with another family and have your final night be a virtual Halloween party complete with dance-offs and scary storytelling over the eerie glow of a tablet or computer monitor.

Marshall University School of Pharmacy is sponsoring a scavenger hunt with youth that attend programming at A.D. Lewis. Directions for participating families, that will provide perfect instruction to create-your-own, can be found on West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension’s YouTube channel or @WVSU4H on Facebook.

Check out MUSOP and WVSU 4-H on social media for more Quarantine-o-Ween alternative fun.

Tiffany Davis, RPh, Pharm.D. is a clinical assistant professor at the Marshall University School of Pharmacy. Tabitha Surface, M.F.A, is a 4-H extension agent and grant writer.

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