Halloween Happenings: How to explain (and celebrate) this year’s new traditions!

We know, Halloween 2020 is going to be very different this year. We could not have imagined back in March that we would still be faced with a pandemic almost 8 months later! But here we are, trying to flatten the COVID-19 curve while also trying to normalize the world for our children. It’s been a long year, but you’ve come this far! Congratulate yourself.

We don’t know how long this new normal will last, but we do know how important it is to continue to celebrate holidays and family traditions even if it means doing things different than last year. Always remember, children are resilient. You can, however, help them cope better by giving them simple and honest information about why things will be different this year.

You can help your children cope with changes associated with Halloween by following a few easy suggestions:

  1. Explain, in simple terms, why normal Halloween activities are unsafe right now. If you haven’t done so already, you may have to start with an explanation of COVID-19. Click this link for more information on how to do this: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/kids-covid-19/art-20482508
  2. Validate their feelings about cancelled/changed activities. It is normal for your children to be disappointed/frustrated/sad about not being able to trick-or-treat, go to costume parties, or celebrate with friends.
  3. Offer new suggestions for possible activities, and involve them in choosing how they will celebrate. This allows them to feel a sense of control over something that they don’t have much control over.

So, how do you celebrate Halloween if you can’t do traditional trick-or-treating (or whatever your Halloween heart may desire)? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines around Halloween activities as many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. With the help of the CDC, input from child life specialists, and youth users on Upopolis, we have compiled a list of alternative Halloween activities so you can continue to make family memories!

Lower risk activities:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with friends or neighbours
  • Decorating your house, apartment or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt either inside, or outside at a safe distance from others’ homes
  • Having a Halloween movie night with treats
  • Having a “Candy Hunt”, around your house, living space or yard; hide the treats and have your children search for them!
  • Having a virtual Halloween contest with friends and family
  • Baking then decorating Halloween themed cookies

Moderate risk activities:

  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance
  • Meeting with friends or neighbours, outside, to show off each other’s costumes at a safe distance, while wearing cloth or medical grade masks

How will you be celebrating Halloween this year? Your answer may be different than last year, but if spending time with loved ones is already part of the plan, you’re ahead of the game.

Happy Halloween!

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