Trick-or-treat! How will COVID-19 affect Halloween traditions?


Provided by Hudson Ohio

Trick-or-treating in 2020 will look a little different than it normally does. How has COVID-19 affected traditional Halloween activities?

Ahh, trick-or-treating. The ageless tradition of going door-to-door donned in the costume of your favorite character at the time – coming home, dumping out your evening’s haul, and then conducting early business dealings and trades between friends. The rules then were simple, don’t go to houses without porch lights on, stay with your group and stay out of the street. Now with COVID-19, how will children and parents have to adapt to this situation?

Among all of the other current changes and adaptations taking place worldwide, trick-or-treating will be the next. Even here in Amarillo, TX, the city ordinance has recommended lower-risk activities to substitute trick-or-treating and trunk-or-treating.

The CDC even recommends alternate activities such as pumpkin carving, Halloween scavenger hunts and movie nights with family. However, if parents choose to participate in trick-or-treating, proper social distancing and time outside is still recommended to current standards.

“Scientists recommend that if you do send your kids out, to let the candy sit for a multiple days so any virus sitting on the surface of wrappers can die off,” News Channel 10 Reporter Penny Kmitt wrote, “Although they encourage wearing masks at all times, it is especially important for children celebrating Halloween to wear a cloth of surgical mask this year.”

In other words, no candy exchange or Halloween cavity scares, at least for a few days.

But how have some decided to provide a trick-or-treating experience without the health risks and exposures of COVID-19? You could imagine that creativity and ingenuity have taken hold in some homes. The CDC has issued that “one-way” trick-or-treating is a moderate risk activity compared to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. Now, what does this mean? Did you think that a catapult or a handrail chute could provide such an experience?

Across the country, people are devising ways to hand out candy to children without directly interacting with them. Some homes have created chutes out of PVC or similar material to transport candy from their porch to a safe distance away for children to obtain. Other examples include zip lines, candy cannons (picture t-shirt cannons without the danger) or even via drone.A delivery drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle used to transport packages, medical supplies, food, or other goods. Drones may be remotely piloted or autonomous. In November, 2020 the FAA proposed airworthiness criteria for type certification of delivery drones with an intent to initialize commercial operations.

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People are finding ways to make sure that kids still get to have that trick-or-treating/Halloween experience. If anything, this proves that humans are intuitive creatures that find ways to adapt to every situation.

I think that this time of the year, from Halloween to New Years, is important for children. Besides the “Santa Claus” hype surrounding Christmas, this time of year is the fall semester’s end. This time of year is full of different activities and events that get kids excited for the end of the year and life in general. Traditions are established and strengthened in families that stay or change later on in their lives. These times in their lives affect their minds in the long run. COVID-19 has forced us to change many things over the years, but life still goes on. Of course, make decisions for yourself and your families. Stay safe, and still have fun. Don’t eat too much candy, and save a Butterfinger for me.

CDC guidelines for Halloween and examples of one-way trick-or-treating. For a list of trick-or-treating locations around Amarillo, click here.