Halloween is often an intergenerational evening of fun that families look forward to all year long. Grandparents enjoy tagging along as costumed grandchildren make their rounds collecting candy throughout the neighborhood. Halloween is second only to Christmas as far as holiday spending goes. From costumes to candy, Americans spent 8.8 billion dollars last year.
This year’s Halloween, however, will present challenges we haven’t encountered before, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The highly infectious virus has caused people of all ages to skip or adapt favorite pastimes and activities. Some areas of the country are cancelling or limiting community-wide events for fear of causing the coronavirus to spread.
Because the virus is impacting older adults in disproportionate numbers, seniors need to be especially cautious. Many have been physical distancing and minimizing public outings since the spring, including events with family members.
What can families do to mark the occasion without putting loved ones at risk? With a little creativity, it’s still possible to safely celebrate Halloween this October.
Celebrating Halloween during COVID-19
- Rethink traditions: If your Halloween traditionally includes a party with a house full of people, think about ways you can modify the event. Is it possible to have your party outdoors where physical distancing is easier? Consider the size of your yard compared with the number of guests. Can you maintain at least 6-feet of distance between partygoers? When physical distancing is combined with everyone wearing face coverings, it might be possible to celebrate safely outside. You’ll likely need to make arrangements for bathroom access that limits guests to just that space, and request they use bleach wipes you provide to clean up the space before and after use.
- Trick-or-treat from a distance: Instead of going neighborhood-wide with your family to trick or treat on Halloween, change things up a bit. Plan to go out on an alternate night and to limit stops to a few trusted locations. Family elders and senior friends might enjoy the fun. Encourage those who want to participate to leave their bowl of candy outside in a spot your party can find, and to watch from the porch or patio. Make sure everyone is wearing masks. Bring the grandparents along via Facetime, at least for a few stops.
- Zoom dance party: While nothing beats an in-person celebration, a dance party via video can be a lot of fun for multiple generations of the family. Pick several videos on YouTube, such as Monster Mash or Thriller, and have everyone learn the choreography before the dance party. Don’t forget to wear Halloween costumes!
- Drive by Halloween: Some families have a tradition of driving around to look at festively decorated yards in the weeks before Christmas. You can put a Halloween twist on this by encouraging close friends and family to go all out decorating their front yards. Then organize a drive-by so you can all enjoy one another’s yard creations.
We hope this gives you a few ideas for celebrating Halloween without putting yourself or family members at risk for contracting the coronavirus.
Staying Engaged from a Distance
If you are looking for other ways to remain close to family members who live in a senior community, while physically distancing, we have some suggestions. How to Stay Connected with Loved Ones in Senior Living during COVID-19 shares tips ranging from care packages to family videos.