Next week’s COVID-19 Halloween may be the scariest yet! Let’s not sugar coat the potential dangers of going house to house eating candy handled by people outside your social bubble. Conversely, why risk being treated to more than a ghoulish costume when little spooks come tricking? Halloween can and should be fun for families.

This year, let’s plan this Halloween to be an opportunity to reduce the specter of cavity ridden teeth and safe from really frightening visitors like COVID-19.

The safest option is to stay home and conjure up our own terror. Let’s consider our creative options. On the upside this is a premier opportunity to create healthier and more nutritious snacks for our children and eliminate that leftover bowl of candy for adults who don’t need the temptation.

n Refocus family efforts from getting the most candy to having the most fun. Remember your child will not remember much about the costume, the candy or the places they typically would visit but will carry forever the emotion of love and fun you create around the activity. It is the “feel” that will excite your child.

n Plan a skit with a Halloween theme and hold a virtual contest; FaceTime, zoom or record for grandparents and friends to watch in real time or later.

n Create a homemade costume that includes the trick or treater in the creation! Costumes do not need to cost anything. Extract material from the closet grave, don’t forget to decorate a mask. The CDC recommends that you do not use a costume mask as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face.

n Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

n Pumpkin carving is a Halloween must but why stop with pumpkins? Turnips are the original carving vegetable. Most farm stands have a variety of spooky, bumpy, misshapen, gourds to choose from. Hubbard squash makes the best dragon head, and don’t forget white is the new orange when it comes to pumpkins. Get out the marker and drill holes in a pattern with a power drill, light the pumpkin with a candle and add to your outside decorations. There are many free templates and ideas online. If knives are not an age appropriate option consider glow in the dark paint, a metallic paint finish or stamps.

n Go wild with decorations. Make your house or apartment entrance so scary you don’t have to worry about visitors spiriting your threshold.

n Make it a candy (or healthier snack) scavenger hunt. Do this indoors or outside.

Plan an age appropriate spooky movie night — it is Saturday!

n Cook a spooky dinner. Grilled fingers made of low fat hot dogs with almond slivers for nails, cut at the “knuckles” and served with ketchup blood. Grapes make great eyeballs, and mummy toast made out of toast spread with tomato sauce and crisscrossed with thin slices of cheese or fettuccini noodles. Add two olive slices for eyeballs. Try slicing a cheese pizza into fingers and cutting a sharp fingernail out of red pepper.

The point is to avoid crowds, maintain social distancing, wear a mask if you are around others outside your social bubble, wash hands frequently and, of course, have fun.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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