Halloween is a big holiday for children (and even adults). Who doesn’t love the idea of getting dressed up in a costume for a night and getting endless free candy? While kids see Halloween as a very exciting event, right up there with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, Halloween is often a point of contention we see in our practice: if they alternate it each year, who has Halloween this year? Where are they taking the children trick or treating? Where will they meet up so that each parent gets some time trick or treating or will they just forego it this year in favor of next? Halloween is such an important event, it is included in the Court Holiday Schedule.
Enter COVID-19. Now what? Like everything else in 2020, Halloween and trick or treating have been upended as the pandemic continues to ravage the world. Some towns are allowing trick or treating, some aren’t. Each town gets to decide for itself. Some parents see nothing wrong with trick or treating – after all, they are outside, ostensibly wearing masks and only interacting—at arm’s length—long enough to grab the candy and go to the next house while other parents see it as an unnecessary risk not worth taking, better safe than sorry, there will be Halloween next year.
What’s the answer? Well, it really comes down to how much risk the parents can tolerate when deciding what is in their child’s best interests and being on the same page. If neither parent sees an issue with trick or treating and they intend to take the necessary precautions of only going to homes of people they know, only being outside, maintaining social distance, not sticking around to chat after that quick exchange for the candy, maybe that is fine. If, however, the parents do not think it is worth the risk, that’s fine, too. But what if one parent sees no problem with trick or treating and the other parent does? Then it is time to get creative and come up with an alternate plan that everyone can get behind.
How about a Halloween scavenger hunt around your own yard? How about an outdoor projector in the back yard and a scary movie night with the kids dressed up in costumes along with their favorite blanket and pillow? How about Halloween trivia and the prizes are full size candy bars instead of the minis people usually give out for Halloween? How about pumpkin carving on Halloween once it gets darker out?
There are lots of ways to still enjoy Halloween—maybe even make some new traditions—without necessarily actually going trick or treating. Challenges present opportunities. This Halloween presents a challenge AND the opportunity to be creative, think outside the box and come up with a way to celebrate the holiday safely so come on, co-parents, think of your best ideas on how to put a new twist on Halloween, you never know, it may just stick.