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Staying safe while celebrating Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 3:00 AM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 08:09:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This year the scariest thing for Halloween may be the fact that the holiday is in the middle of a pandemic.

That means traditions are changing, which is something a local mother had to explain to her two young boys, Preston and Carter.

"They understand that people are sick, we're trying to stay home to protect each other and protect others," Jollene Hastings, a Kansas City Mom Collective Contributor said. "And so Halloween is going to look a little different this year."

One glance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of moderate and high-risk activities really drove that point home.

"There's a lot of things that are the norm for us that are canceled essentially," Hastings said.

Even having a small outdoor costume parade where people are distanced is listed as moderate risk.

Traditional trick or treating is an even higher risk.

"I think the main reason for that is the groups that are going trick or treating together," Dr. Dana Hawkinson of the University of Kansas Health System said in an October 15 briefing.

Hawkinson pointed out the interaction between someone at the door giving candy and a child trick or treating is extremely short.

Still, the CDC shared tips for making trick or treating safer, including wearing a mask, handing out treats outdoors or setting up a station with individually-bagged treats for kids to grab.

Out of an abundance of caution, Hastings is keeping her boys at home this Halloween.

However, she plans to celebrate the holiday in new ways.

The family will still dress up in coordinated costumes. This year they opted for a circus theme.

"I'm going to dress up like a ringmaster, and Preston is going to dress up like a strongman," Carter, age five, said.

Hastings is making Halloween baskets, filled with fun activities and crafts, like pumpkin decorating kits.

She is consulting Pinterest to cook up a spooky menu and plans to decorate her front porch with the boys.

Another idea she's considering is filling glow in the dark eggs with candy for a Halloween hunt in the backyard.

However you decide to celebrate, Hastings had this message for parents.

"Don't overstress. Just think of it as a fun day, and if there are pumpkins involved and candy involved, I think it'll be a win regardless," she said.