How to have a safe and spooktacular Halloween

This Halloween for kids will be unlike any other they have ever experienced.

And as kids, parents and people prepare for this unique event this year, with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the good news is that it’s still on. It hasn’t been cancelled. But it will be different.

Recently, the City of Calgary made that announcement which was a welcome relief for everyone who enjoys this special season with its candy, trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, parties and decorating their homes.

“Kids should go out trick-or-treating with other kids in their bubble and refrain from ringing the bell,” said Tom Sampson, Chief of Calgary Emergency Management, in a recent statement. “Make sure they wash their hands when they get home. For extra protection have kids wear a real mask instead of a costume mask, or under their mask if it doesn’t impact their ability to breathe.”

“If you want to have trick-or-treaters, leave your lights on so your neighbours know you are comfortable having kids come to your door for candy. Halloween is a great tradition, but some people will want to do things differently this year and that’s ok too. Whatever you decide to do, consider finding decorations, candy and costumes at local shops. We need to respect each other’s choices and above all else, we need to be kind,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

The Government of Alberta recently issued some guidelines for people to celebrate the spookiest time of the year without the fear of spreading the coronavirus.

Here are some of its suggested guidelines:

Trick-or-treating

  • Don’t go trick-or-treating if feeling ill, even if symptoms are minor;
  • Choose costumes that allow a non-medical mask to be worn underneath – make sure you can see and breathe comfortably;
  • Minimize contact with others: trick-or-treat with your family or cohort, remain within your community, and stay two metres apart;
  • Avoid touching doorbells or railings: call “trick or treat” from two metres away, knock instead of using doorbells, use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces; and
  • Wash hands and disinfect packages before eating candy.

Handing out candy

  • Don’t hand out candy if feeling ill or isolating;
  • Wear a non-medical mask that fully covers your nose and mouth;
  • Ask trick-or-treaters to knock or call out instead of ringing the doorbell; and 
  • Use tongs to hand out pre-packaged candy to avoid handling treats.

Find creative ways to maintain distance from trick-or-treaters

  • Hand out treats from your driveway or front lawn, if weather permits;
  • Set up a table or desk to help keep yourself distanced;
  • Make candy bags and space them out on a table or blanket; don’t leave out self-serve bowls of bulk candy; and
  • Build a candy slide, candy catapult or other fun, non-touch delivery methods.

Halloween Parties

  • Stay home if feeling ill, even if symptoms are mild;
  • Spend time with people you know – the smaller the group the better;
  • Choose games and activities that don’t use shared items and allow people to stay two metres apart; 
  • Don’t share drinks, food, cigarettes, vapes or cannabis;
  • Host your party outdoors, if weather permits; and 
  • If you must stay indoors: reduce your gathering size; choose a location that allows for physical distancing between people from separate families and cohorts; and provide hand sanitizer.

Despite all the precautions, many people still might feel a little apprehensive about taking in any Halloween activities this year obviously. But the outdoor nature of the event allows people to be creative this year.

Here are some ideas from the City:

  • Don’t want your kids going door to door? Get some trusted friends together for “trunk or treating” and have kids go car to car to get treats in an outdoor parking lot;
  • Want to skip the candy thing all together? Take your kids on a scavenger hunt; Have a block party outdoors; Do a Zoom dance party with friends; Attend one of several drive-in events across Calgary; or Consider other seasonal activities like picking pumpkins and carving them, doing an outdoor corn maze, and if it is warm enough a scary outdoor movie in the backyard.

Yes Halloween will be different this year for everyone but that’s no reason why children and adults can’t improvise and still have a happy, safe and spooktacular time again.