More alternatives to trick-or-treat for COVID-nervous families

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There are many cities and towns throughout Indiana that have canceled trick-or-treating this Halloween, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This might be the perfect time to create a new Halloween tradition with your family, says Jill Walls, an associate professor of early childhood, youth, and family studies at Ball State University.

“The most important part of any holiday is spending quality time together and making memories,” Walls said. “COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty for families, but I think it’s possible to still have fun this Halloween season while staying safe. Parents should take time to prepare their children for some new traditions and provide reassurance about the other upcoming holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

A great way to come up with some alternatives is to ask your children what they want to do.

“I asked them, and my six-year-old said ‘we can play a board game and whoever wins gets candy thrown at them,'” Walls said with a laugh.

Walls says if you have a child who loves arts and crafts, you can color or paint or create decorations. Other ideas include telling spooky stories, watching Halloween-themed, age-appropriate movies, or still dressing up in costumes and doing trick-or-treating inside your own home.

“I’m imagining my husband and I running from room to room and pretending to be different characters and handing out candy,” she said.

If you and your family are still planning on going out and trick-or-treating in your neighborhood this year, Walls suggests you take extra precautions.

“Remain at a distance from other trick-or-treaters,” she said. “Probably not a good idea to approach a house where there is already a large gathering.”

Walls also says if you’re planning on handing out candy in your neighborhood, think about possibly putting pre-packaged goodie bags out, to avoid a bunch of hands reaching into the same bucket.

On Monday, the CDC posted guidance for the holidays, including Halloween. They warn people to avoid higher-risk activities, like door-to-door trick-or-treating, attending crowded indoor costume parties, visiting indoor haunted houses and going on hayrides with strangers.

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