Covid safe Halloween?
July 29, 2020 7:15 AM   Subscribe

How can I accommodate trick or treaters this year?

Phased reopen plans in my city have not been the most well organized, and my area of the city has some of the highest numbers of cases. This doesn't surprise me because despite a mask mandate, I daily see various neighbors not masked up and socializing at close range.

This has led me to start thinking how on earth Halloween is going to work this year. We generally get a ton of trick or treaters which means:

1. I'm not really comfortable handing out candy to hundreds of people while not socially distancing.

2. If I just put out a bowl, somebody who comes by is definitely just going to dump the whole thing into their bag.

I know transmission on objects isn't a huge risk, but when it comes to a whole bunch of hands rooting around in one bowl and then eating the collected Halloween contents later, it doesn't quite seem like the best idea.

Are there safe methods of trick or treating this year? Are there alternatives to encourage in my neighborhood like a costume parade or something? Should we just plan to turn off our porch light and pretend we're not home?
posted by donut_princess to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There is no safe trick or treating.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 7:24 AM on July 29, 2020 [22 favorites]

I'm kind of kidding, but kind of not: throwing the candy? You could make a game of it for the kids to try to catch the candy in their bags/bowls from a distance.
posted by past unusual at 7:36 AM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thinking through the logistics... Maybe make a cheery sign about this carnival game with an area to a spot you've marked for the "players" with tape on the sidewalk. Lights around the sign (on a battery) and cheering when they catch the candy to drive home that this is a game.
posted by past unusual at 7:38 AM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm considering a little bell out my window, then tossing candy out of it, or perhaps lowering it in a basket. This may actually enable me, a second-story-dweller, to give out candy for the first time ever! You may consider a lacrosse stick, a t-shirt launcher, a remote-controlled car.
posted by Hypatia at 7:41 AM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’m thinking of sitting at the top of my steps with a fishing pole and passing out treats that way, maybe as part of a costume? I’m also considering making some kind of clothesline setup where I can clip candy on and fly it out to the trick-or-treaters.
posted by corey flood at 7:46 AM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

As someone who's lived in apartments forever, tossing candy into baskets from my window has always been my mode. The kids love it, and I don't have to go down 2 flights of stairs every 5 minutes.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:49 AM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

I wasn’t home for Halloween last year and used this technique which worked:

Set out a grid of 50 paper cups by your door. Put a few candies in each cup. Point a security camera looking through your front window from inside at the scene. Post a huge sign on your door saying “please take one cup” and also draw another sign with a large eye on it saying “YOU are being watched.” Hahaha yes I am that neighbor...but I made the style more tongue in cheek than ominous.

I came home expecting the cups to all be tipped over and no candy. Instead, I found a very orderly scene with about 10 cups of candy still standing. I watched the security video and everyone pretty much followed the rules. The only things unexpected were: 1. One parent putting his eye up to the camera and clowning for me. 2. Another parent neatly arranging a few cups that had fallen over. Try this even if you don’t have a camera! I suspect that having the mere warning might also work.
posted by oxisos at 7:49 AM on July 29, 2020

Plus when they're teens you can really pelt them -- just launch that stuff at em, and they love THAT.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:50 AM on July 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm hoping I can implement some sort of slide from me to the kid - marking where they stand to receive their candy
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:21 AM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

maybe a trunk or treat?
posted by brujita at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2020

I would try for a slide too, a hotwheels track should do nicely.
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:06 AM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

throwing the candy?

Do it! Years ago at a birthday party my kid went to the parents stood on their second-floor deck and threw candy down to the kids in the backyard. They all lost their minds and it was way more fun than goody bags or a pinata.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:31 AM on July 29, 2020

Remote control car that delivers candy at the end of the driveway?
posted by mostly vowels at 9:54 AM on July 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

When I lived in a 2nd floor apartment with no front facing door and wanted trick or treaters, I bought a big length of dryer hose and trailed it out my window. Candy chute. Ring the bell, get a candy whooshed straight into your bag from the heavens.
posted by phunniemee at 9:55 AM on July 29, 2020 [11 favorites]

Use a lacrosse stick to throw candy (or gently scoop and drop). If you're the costuming type you could be a lacrosse player.

Or build a trebuchet if you like the idea of launching candy at children. Then you have a world of costumes to pick from.
posted by meemzi at 10:50 AM on July 29, 2020

Could make some kind of fortune teller booth type thing so you are surrounded by plexiglass and can drop/dispense candy out of a slot. (Think zoltar, quick search shows diy directions online). However that only protects you.

Giving out candy is encouraging groups of kids to walk around visiting everyone and not socially distanced/touch doorbells etc. I would expect towns with proper covid responses to cancel Halloween, so i would think twice about participating.
posted by TheAdamist at 11:32 AM on July 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

If I just put out a bowl, somebody who comes by is definitely just going to dump the whole thing into their bag.
My plan is to set out a bowl full of candy away from my front door, then hang out on my front porch saying hi to the neighbors at a safe distance. I imagine having a human there will help trick-or-treaters make good choices.
posted by revgeorge at 12:50 PM on July 29, 2020

I'm not a huge halloween fan, but this year I feel like its almost like more important to make this fun and safe. This is like the one goddamn holiday we can have. This summer especially has sucked goddamn ass for kids in the US, and fall isn't probably gonna be much better. Humans can figure this out. Caveats: we have a fully fenced yard that we can kind of secure and enforce social distancing; if I was not able to do this, I would not engage any of this. If you can't do it safe, don't.

Setup is thus: I have been planning to rig up a couple little zip lines where small candy filled cotton ghosts for smaller kids and paper mache dismembered hands and feet for older kids, can shoot down towards the sidewalk (at different, socially distanced points no less). A couple strobe lights will be mounted where they'll 'land' and the kids can just unhook them by pulling on them. we have a fleet of curtain clips like these that will be pressed into action so that we don't have to 'reload' the setup. This consists of, a wire running from our roof to the front fence, where I will man the zip line station. The station where I will be will hopefully be enveloped in fog machine goodness. Hand sanitizer will be provided at the landing zone.

And remember, fun size is a misnomer. These zip line bags are gonna be fuckin' LOADED with goods, because honestly, most people are probably gonna opt out of this.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:32 PM on July 29, 2020 [5 favorites]

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