Whether you're planning a return to a traditional Halloween or following the same pandemic precautions as last year, your little ones can enjoy a safe and fun holiday. These tips can help.
- Put reflective tape or glow sticks on kids' costumes. Make sure drivers can see them as they dart from house to house. Also, keep costumes short enough to prevent tripping. Use face paint, which allows for effective use of medical face masks. The CDC adamantly warns against the use of decorative contact lenses.
- Turn on all outdoor lights. And remove tripping hazards like electrical cords from walkways.
- Lock up your pets. Loud noises and strange costumes can rattle pets, prompting them to bite or bolt out the door.
- Drive with extra caution. That's especially true in neighborhoods.
- Use battery powered lights in jack-o-lanterns. Candles are a fire risk.
- Offer a contactless Candy Tree option. If Halloween is rain-free, hang candies in plastic zipper bags from an easy-to-reach tree in your yard. Light it up with spotlights along with a sign letting Trick-or-Treaters know it's OK to pick candy from your Candy Tree.
- Respect neighbors' choices. Don't interpret non-participation as any kind of pandemic "statement." Normally festive but now darkened houses may be protecting a vulnerable family member or safeguarding your kids from someone who is ill.
Ideas for socially distanced celebrations
- Go virtual. Organize an online get-together with friends or family members to show off costumes and carved pumpkin creations.
- Take a spooky family drive. Just like you pack the family in the car to take in neighbors' holiday decorations, do the same for spooky Halloween displays.
- Bring Trick-or-Treat to the kids. Instead of little candy-seekers roaming the neighborhood to knock on doors, work with your homeowners association to arrange a "candy caravan" route and time, in which neighbors to drive by homes, tossing bagged candy to the kids in their driveways. Kids get the thrill of seeing the caravan approach (like a parade!), showing off their costumes and enjoying sugary surprises – they just do it without being exposed to multiple households.
- Take a twist on the Easter egg hunt. Hide Halloween goodies the same way you hide Easter eggs and invite masked classmates with whom your child already is in contact. After the hunt, launch your favorite streaming service and settle in the little goblins for a family-friendly Halloween show.
- Visit a pumpkin patch. Choose off-hours to find the perfect pumpkin outdoors without crowds.
Keeping property safe from 'tricks'
- Park in your closed garage. Halloween is the worst night of the year for car vandalism. The risk for serious damage like smashed windshields and slashed tires more than doubles compared to a normal day, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. If your garage is too packed to fit your car inside, here are some ideas to help you tame the clutter.
- Light up your home. That's especially true for parking areas if you don't have a garage. Be sure to remove valuables from inside your car and lock up.
- Rethink your bumper sticker. A PEMCO Poll showed that 20% of drivers change their behavior toward other drivers based on whether or not they agree with a bumper sticker's message. Having your opinions pasted on your car may make it a potential target when parked, too.
- Remove temptations. Put away anything like grills, pickup-bed toolboxes or bicycles that could be stolen or thrown against your home to vandalize it.
- Rideshare or use public transportation. If your Halloween festivities mean parking in a neighborhood you don't know, you may want to explore ways to leave your car at home.
- Clean up substances (like eggs) promptly to avoid damage to your car's finish. But if vandalism is serious enough to warrant a police report or insurance claim, take photos and leave the evidence untouched so police can examine it.
No matter how you choose to celebrate Halloween this year, we wish you and your family a ghoulishly good time!