If communities follow new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Halloween, families should consider creating new traditions that do not involve trick-or-treating, parties, and get-togethers, said Jill Walls, an associate professor of Early Childhood, Youth, and Family Studies at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

On Monday, the CDC posted guidance for the holidays, including Halloween. The federal agency warns people to avoid higher risk activities, including door-to-door trick-or-treating; attending crowded, indoor costume parties; visiting indoor haunted houses; or going on hayrides or tractors rides with strangers.

“The most important part of any holiday is spending quality time together and making memories,” Walls said. “COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty for families, but I think it’s possible to still have fun this Halloween season while staying safe. Parents should take time to prepare their children for some new traditions and provide reassurance about the other upcoming holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Walls suggests that families watch an age-appropriate, Halloween-themed movie together, make a Halloween craft, play board games, bake holiday-themed food, or have story time where someone reads a Halloween or fall-themed book aloud.

It also might be fun to “visit” friends in costume via Zoom or other online video platforms, she said.

And, for the little ones that just enjoy the costumes and treats, parents could set up candy bowls in various rooms of their home and have children trick-or-treat around the house or apartment.

If your community allows Halloween activities to go on in neighborhoods, Walls encourages residents to place wrapped candy outside their homes in open bowls or individual bags, instead of handing it out.

“I think about many hands reaching inside those bowls, which is not necessarily sanitary. Costumes with masks and gloves might be the best way to go this year!”

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