Costumes, candy and COVID (oh my!)

Costumes, candy and COVID (oh my!)

Nothing screams fall more than costume contests, haunted houses and candy. But the reality is that the stuff that makes Halloween so fun is exactly what makes it high-risk for spreading COVID-19. Current CDC guidelines recommend avoiding common Halloween celebrations like parties and trick-or-treating. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. You can still enjoy many of your favourite Halloween traditions, get creative with them—or maybe even make some new ones.

1. Marvelous masks

Masks are such a big part of our lives now, so why not add a Halloween spin to your boring old face covering? Using whatever materials you have on hand (think paint, felt, glitter, etc.), you can easily spruce up a plain old mask by adding a silly moustache, scary fangs, pipe cleaner cat whiskers, a fake beard...the list goes on. Looking for some inspo? Check out some ideas for adults and kids. If you’re not the DIY type, you’ll find a huge selection of Halloween-themed masks on Etsy or Amazon. Or better yet, check out some local shops near you! (Just remember that when it comes to protecting people from COVID, a costume mask isn’t a replacement for a face mask…)

You could even try designing your whole costume (or your kids’) based on your mask of choice. If you love the tradition of costume contests, consider having a virtual one!

2. Treats without tricks

Dozens of little hands touching the same doorbell and ruffling through candy bowls isn’t exactly COVID-friendly. Big groups of kids huddling in front of one door isn’t ideal either, so if you decide to take your kids trick-or-treating, keep your group as small as possible. But don’t worry, the CDC hasn’t ruled out trick-or-treating completely, you just need to use a little creativity.

One idea is to create your own individually-packed treat bags (paper is best for sustainability!) and put them outside your front door or in your condo’s lobby. Throw in the usual treats, and round it out with a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer in each bag to encourage COVID prevention. (To make the bottles more fun, add googly eyes, moustaches, glitter, or other playful elements.) Some people plan on using long barbecue tongs or hockey sticks to hand out treats. Or you can try using a candy slide or chute—folks are making them out of pipes, kids’ play tunnels and other inventive materials.

Related info: This Toronto plumber is selling candy chutes for Halloween to raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank. The demand has been overwhelming.

Don’t feel comfortable with the whole trick-or-treating scene? Set up a candy scavenger hunt instead, hiding treats inside your home or around your property (just make sure no dogs are nearby to get at the chocolate...it’s really bad for them). Or try having fun with a Halloween-themed piñata!

Haunted House

3. Amp up the spooky factor

While CDC guidelines say “nope” to indoor haunted houses, nothing’s stopping you from going the extra mile with your outdoor, doorway or balcony decor. You can stock up pretty inexpensively with a trip to the dollar store, or even have some fun creating your own spooky ornaments. Just Google “make your own Halloween decorations” for great ideas. But if you’re not a decorator, that’s okay. You can still get the full Halloween experience by checking out some of Toronto’s coolest Halloween decorations on a house hunt with your social bubble.

Another spooky idea? Host a virtual roundtable of scary storytelling!

For more spooky fun, use the “watch together” feature on Netflix to get in scary movie mode with friends or family. Here's a list of 50 horror movies to watch on Netflix right now.

4. Carve some scary faces

Pumpkins are another way to get creative. Have a socially-distanced or virtual carving party, with prizes for the funniest, most creative, and scariest jack-o-lanterns. You could even throw in something pandemic-specific, and carve one that says “STAY SAFE,” or dress up a pumpkin in a mask of its own.

Ready to do something a little different? Think outside the pumpkin and carve a scary (or sweet) face out of another fruit or veggie: here’s an article with alternatives you may already have in your kitchen.

So while it’s safe to say that Halloween won’t be quite the same this year, there’s no shortage of fun activities you can enjoy. And with that, we wish you a safe and super-fun Halloween!

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