How parents are planning for Halloween in a pandemic


Zach Gilbert

Parents across the country are searching for alternatives to typical Halloween activities such as traditional trick-or-treating due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

With many new rules and restrictions on Halloween festivities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many parents are still searching for the best strategy to celebrate Halloween with their family while remaining safe.

Since it is strongly advised to abstain from usual activities such as trick-or-treating or throwing large themed parties, parents across the country have had to adapt their plans accordingly and think of creative new customs.

Quashayla Perez, an Omaha mother of two, was thankful for the CDC’s explicit guidelines and kept note of these recommendations as she prepared for any fun for her family on Halloween night.

“I thought that the recommendations from the CDC for Halloween were helpful, as they listed many alternative ways to celebrate and a number of considerations to keep in mind,” Perez said. “I thought it was important that they pointed out how a Halloween costume mask isn’t a substitute for a medical mask as well. Instead, you should just get a Halloween themed medical mask.”

While Perez and her family typically celebrate Halloween by trick-or-treating around their neighborhood, that won’t be the case this year.

“This year, my family and I will be dressing up in costumes and giving my kids candy ourselves inside my house,” Perez said. “We might also do a bonfire in the backyard at night and roast marshmallows.”

On the East Coast, where coronavirus cases are on an uptick, parents are understandably being equally cautious.

Bernard Ozarowski, a father of two from New York, felt that the CDC guidelines were fair, given America’s mishandling of the Coronavirus crisis thus far, but still expressed disappointment.

“Halloween is something that countries that can maturely and responsibly address a pandemic get to enjoy,” Ozarowski said. “Nonetheless, I am still angry that, because so many Americans have chosen to behave irresponsibly for the last seven months, my kids don’t get to have a normal Halloween.”

This will be Ozarowski’s son’s third Halloween and his daughter’s first. On Halloweens past, Ozarowski and his family had attended the Children’s Halloween Parade in Washington Square Park and Boo! at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo – activities which were either cancelled or severely altered this year.

Meanwhile, last year, the Ozarowskis primarily focused on trick-or-treating in their East Village neighborhood, as various Manhattan stores also provided candy alongside their neighbors’ houses.

Though Ozarowski’s plans for this year are still somewhat up-in-the-air, he and his family have decided to remain outdoors entirely, while staying safely and socially distanced.

“I suspect that we’ll leave candy for trick-or-treaters outside our house and then walk around our neighborhood to see if other folks have done something similar,” Ozarowski said. “We’ll also likely pick pumpkins at a local farm and carve them or otherwise decorate them sometime that day. We’ve already put up some decorations around our house and thrown on some family Halloween movies occasionally, so we’re finding ways to embrace as much Halloween fun as we can in these trying times.”

It may not be ideal for any family to attempt to plan Halloween activities in the midst of a pandemic and preserve some sense of normalcy, but with creativity and commitment, it’s clear that many parents are still able to make the most of the situation.