While the CDC is advising against trick-or-treating, some parents are still looking for safe ways to celebrate Halloween with their kids. From candy chutes to clotheslines, the internet is brimming with ideas for socially-distant candy handouts that help you maintain at least 6 ft. of space.
1. Craft a candy chute
When West Virginia dad Andrew Beattie posted this photo of a 6-foot-long orange and black candy chute that he attached to his railing, Facebook went wild, sharing the post over 85,000 times. It even ended up on the news. When trick-or-treaters call, simply put a piece of candy in at the top of the PVC or cardboard chute and let them catch it in their candy bags while they wait—at a safe distance—at the bottom. It’s advised that you still wear a mask and be sure to wear and continuously replace latex gloves often to be extra cautious.
2. Candy on a stick
Denver mom Wendy Reeves Winter didn’t want to miss out on the parade of cute kids in costumes, so she came up with the ingenious idea to stick candy in her lawn à la Willy Wonka. Simply tape candy to sticks and put them throughout the yard for kids to come and grab on their own. “I still want to hang out on my porch and see everyone’s cute costumes. But no, I don’t want a bunch of kids ringing my doorbell and fishing in my bowl for candy,” she says. “Kids can come by and get candy from a safe distance and I’ll get to smile and wave from my front porch. Win-win.”
Winter says you can use any type of stick, including popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, glow sticks, and plastic straws, but warns against putting the candy out too early and attracting squirrels before the kiddos arrive.
3. String a clothesline
Halloween blogger Señor Scary plans to rig a clothesline with goodie bags and full-sized candy bars clipped to the line, sending each out piece-by-piece.
“The candy will go from the bag to the clothespin, with my mask on and gloves on, of course. The tots tug the treat off the line without touching anything else, and it will be in the open air instead of coming to the front door,” he writes. “And yes, I’ll be prepared if kids take more than one—because that’s the Halloween spirit!”
4. A line of twine
In a similar idea to the clothesline, Los Angeles mom Beth Penn is taking more of a trusting approach to the Halloween tradition by decorating her fence in holiday decor and adding a length of twine with small pieces of candy clothes pinned for kids to grab as they come by. Another idea along these lines would be to hang bags or pieces of candy from a tree or decorate a bush at your front door with treats.
5. Secret Satan
Who says Halloween needs to be one night only? Get all the families in your pod and have them do a Secret Satan gift and candy exchange. Simply draw a name for a few days leading up to Halloween, and drop off little gifts and notes like stickers, packs of gum, and painted rocks, each week until Halloween. Then the night of Halloween everyone can meet in a park or a front yard to exchange price-limited gifts while they are all in costume.
6. Witchy handout
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, this is the perfect year to get into character and be the neighborhood witch when you hand out candy. A large toy cauldron can be filled with candy and handed out with an extra-long ladle. One friend is using a pool skimmer that she’s spray-painting black. Another friend plans to use a fruit picker that’s she’ll alter by covering the tines with modeling clay and electrical tape. Either tool will work to stir, scoop, and hand out candy from a safe distance.
7. Wear a hazmat suit
If there is one holiday you can pull off wearing biohazard protection, it’s Halloween! Put your full-body PPE to spooky use by suiting up as a scientist like those in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and Stranger Things. Use kitchen tongs or, if you really want to be authentic, get some extra long science tweezers to hand out pre-portioned bags, and you’ve got yourself a convincing costume and a socially distant solution to the Halloween candy dilemma. A length of biohazard tape keeping kids off your porch and guiding them to the candy station completes the scene.
8. Goodie bag stations
Of course, sometimes simplicity is the best. A treat table set up with goodie bags, or Dixie cups filled with candy, in your yard or driveway is an easy and straightforward option. Get your neighbors on board so kids can go from table-to-table collecting their treats. It’ll feel almost just like Halloween in days past, and you might find it such an easy way to hand out candy that you keep doing this years after this pandemic is a distant memory.
If all else fails, don’t judge yourself too harshly if you do what Rena Strober from Los Angeles plans to. Her daughter is only three, so she plans to skip most of the Halloween festivities and focus on some much-needed self-care. “I’m just eating all the candy myself in front of the TV while I binge watching Say Yes to the Dress,” says Strober.
Sounds like the start of a beautiful new Halloween tradition.
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