This is the perfect year for celebrating Halloween, a full moon (Blue moon) and a Saturday but is it really? Well if you are like me, I believe where there is a will there is a way or the glass is 1/2 full or win-win. Just because we are facing a challenging time, which means big issues to health, doesn’t mean we cannot take advantage of this great Halloween Night and enjoy. Please don’t get me wrong, I am taking this COVID seriously and share this message with that in mind but we are heading into a “New Normal” which means we must face life with a positive attitude and look at these times as opportunities to make changes for a better tomorrow.

Yes, it is not a surprise that Halloween will look very different this year than last. It is important to remember we are entering into the winter and flu season too therefore use what we know works when making plans. Now is the time for us as adults to Lead by Example, demonstrating to youth the most important skills for their future: collaborate with the neighbors, communicate with the community, think critically about what is needed for safety, and be creative to develop strategies to make it fun for all.

There are a wealth of ideas floating around. Remember what is implemented in your neighborhood will be the result of what works best for your immediate community, kids and COVID numbers.

Here are some Halloween ideas from families across the country to keep the holiday spooky while staying safe, complete with wearing masks, sanitizing often and practicing social distancing. (New York Times Article)

Door-to-door trick-or-treating this year may instead be table-to-table. In Canonsburg, Pa., Dana Armstrong, 39, and her neighbors are recommending families put tables outdoors, at the end of their driveways or in front of their homes, with candy spread out on top for children to grab as they pass. A similar concept is popping up in Chicago neighborhoods. After discussing it with her husband, Sarah Barr, 40, said she’ll head out — masked up — with her 10-year-old daughter, along with a small group of friends and their parents. Any house where the tables look like subway platforms during rush hour, or where people aren’t wearing masks, “Keep on movin’!” Ms. Barr said.

Barring any snow in Minneapolis, Tiffany Tomlin Kurtz, 43, and a small group of neighbors plan to organize an outdoor party, with a glow-in-the-dark candy hunt for the kids, a bonfire for adults and an outdoor projector showing a Halloween flick.

In Atlanta, after their kids wrote a letter making the case for more than a backyard Halloween party, Maggie and Garrett Mock and other friend-parents put their heads together to come up with a “progressive party,” Covid-19 style.

“Each house will give away candy, but also host a little extra activity to make up for the limited stops,” Ms. Mock said. From pizza and piñatas at one stop, and at other stops, backyard dance parties, ghost tales around the bonfire and, of course, an outside projector with scary movies.

“We think it’s a fun way for the kids to have a say in how this strange holiday plays out,” Ms. Mock said, “while also allowing the parents to get creative and have some festive fun of their own.” 

(New York Times, October 2020, By Alexandra E. Petri)

As I researched and reflected about Halloween, more ideas were shared by friends, and more came to mind due to my past experiences as a school administrator. Still someone who enjoys the holiday, my mind is still problem-solving and creating in hopes of being part of the solution. Below are a few more to add to your brainstorming list. Please remember, Be safe, It is not over, we ALL need to do our part, and virtually-HAND-in-HAND, TOGETHER WE CAN find SOLUTIONS to ENJOY safely.

One family shared they built a tube, and the candy will be sent through the tube into the trick or treat bag. Another will package the treats in goodie bags, and pass them out from the front yard dressed up with gloves and mask. Some plan organized community events at the local community center parks with RSVP to manage numbers.

IDEA: Schools could organize trunk or treat activities with small groups allowed into the lot at one time (Using the blacktop area can provide a huge lot for parking cars). By doing a trunk or treat in grade levels, scheduled the times, and control how many enter (by grade or classroom) with appropriately spaced cars for accessing the treats (packaged and supervised by adult appropriately covered in protective gear) all could enjoy Halloween. Meanwhile for added fun, hold a costume event with someone on a PA up on the roof or second floor with the sound system playing music, and announcing the students as they walk through while taking pictures. Then later the pictures of the students in costumes can be posted on the school website or added to the yearbook.

IDEA: Hold family-local street neighborhood events (with immediate family members or neighbors or school pods) making a day of it. Create an agenda for the whole day. Have the kids help with the planning to create buy-in. If there are older and younger in the groups, let the older kids take the lead. Start with Halloween breakfast in which each family contributes a recipe for the breakfast then together on ZOOM enjoy cooking and eating together. Next, hold a pumpkin carving contest. Set a time for everyone to place the pumpkins online and outside for viewing. You could also have a house decorating contest too, and different categories such as the funniest, scariest and most original. Later hold a scavenger hunt on Zoom. Then head to the local park for a Halloween candy hunt (like an Easter Egg Hunt) to get out some energy. Back home, grab an early dinner, and sit outside on lawn chairs to view each others’ house decorations, pumpkins, and costumes. Maybe even hold a costume parade, one family at a time or variety show-of course socially distancing. Have one person teach everyone else the “Monster Mash” and start dancing in the streets! Finally, hang a big white sheet, and show a Halloween Movie for ALL to enjoy sitting 6ft apart of course! Remember it will be a full moon so you might need to turn off all the other lights!

IDEA: Make Halloween this year completely “Homemade” which means no buying of costumes, decorations or other Halloween commercial items. Instead create your own unique Halloween. This should get the kids thinking. For your teenagers, they could make their own Halloween film. For your crafty ones, they could create decorations and costumes. Maybe one member of the family enjoys music, and wants to write a new song? For those who enjoy cooking, maybe a new recipe for Halloween dinner? Have each member of the family choose their Halloween creation to be unveiled on Halloween. To add a little more to this event, each could write a News release or poster announcing their idea/event or product. This might even spark a project-based learning activity for one of your kids who is having difficulty getting deeper into school right now.

HALLOWEEN is in the air…it is just around the corner. It is on a Saturday, and brings with it a Full Moon. This is a Halloween Night that doesn’t come around but once every couple of years. How will you celebrate this year…safely? Time to LEAD by EXAMPLE, therefore demonstrate those 21st Century skills of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Creativity. Time to have fun with family, and where appropriate and safely with a few close friends and neighbors. Always with a MASK, 6ft apart, hands washed Or using sanitizer (especially to eat, and wearing gloves when handling treats) and being outside for limited times with small group. ENJOY!

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