Even in a pandemic, you don’t have to let Halloween fun slither from your grasp.
Maybe you’ve decided to ditch the big parties and traditional trick-or-treating. Depending on your area’s COVID status, that’s probably a safe move.
“This is a chance to re-center and think about the things about Halloween that are really important to us and what we really want to celebrate and find time to do,” said Karen Collins, a registered dietitian in western New York who specializes in cancer prevention and heart health.
Maybe there are things you think you have to do, but some of those old traditions may have given up the ghost.
Here are some tricks for making new memories:
Plan a fun night at home. Pull out a favorite board game and cue up a spooky movie. Ask your kids to concoct a costume based on someone they’ve been reading about in history, or the outcome of a crazy science experiment, Collins said. See what they can find around the house to bring their ideas to life. The good news is you’re not bound by geography. Your special out-of-town friends or cousins 2,000 miles away can connect online to show off their own costumes, or watch the same movie your gang is watching.
Leave creative treats or decorations at a neighbor’s home on the sly. You can drop and dash!
Plan a scavenger hunt. Get together a simple list and run with it. This can be a physical hunt (allowing one person in a yard at a time) or virtual (everyone checks in from home within an hour).
Throw a virtual pumpkin carving contest. Participants send in pictures or you host a Zoom session to show off masterpieces. Give each person 30 seconds to explain their theme, and give props for spookiest, most outlandish, etc. Another idea: A kid with a few tricks up his sleeve could perform a magic show!
Think about the community. Older children could work on a service project to donate to a local organization. Does your elderly neighbor have leaves? Ask teens to rake ’em. They can joke and tease while masked and physically distant.
About those treats
“As a dietitian, I would like people not to overdo it on treats, but I don’t believe in being the sugar police, like ‘you should only have an apple and some oven-roasted sweet potatoes,’” Collins said. “It’s a great opportunity to rethink what makes Halloween food and treats fun.”
What’s not fun is the mental crash that follows the sweet surge you get from added sugars. That mental fog can be downright scary.
“The foods that tend to be high in added sugars are generally not giving us anything that is promoting health or strength or brain activity,” Collins said. “There is an absence of nutrition.”