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How to Make Halloween Fun if Trick-or-Treating Is Banned

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children getting candy on Halloween
(Zachary Hada/DVIDS)

All over the internet, the discussion has turned to Halloween as the latest pandemic obstacle. Sure, it's a holiday that revolves around outside activities and masks, but does that mean it's OK to participate in trick-or-treating?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released specific guidance for Halloween, and garrison commanders will likely use this information to help make decisions on fall activities.

For those who live off base, there may be fewer restrictions but still a general consensus that safety is important. Here are ways to make Halloween fun if your installation (or town) bans traditional trick-or-treating.

1. Create a Haunted Forest

Anything outside is better, as we've seen over the last few months. So a haunted forest (instead of a haunted house) where people can keep their distance is a great idea. To make it safer, keep it one-way and, if it's going to be super scary, encourage more than six feet between family groups.

2. Have an Outdoor Costume Party

The kids are going to want to dress up, no matter what. So you might as well embrace it. Have a costume party outside! Invite a few families, but not more than can safely keep their distance. Instead of wearing a cloth mask and a costume mask, consider a Halloween-themed cloth mask instead.

3. Coordinate One-Way Trick-or-Treating

Traditional trick-or-treating may be out of the question, but a one-way interaction might work. Individually wrapped goodie bags set outside will allow for participation without crowds. This is also a good way for solo parents to both give out treats and walk the neighborhood with their kids.

4. Have a Decorating Contest

Decorating for Halloween is one way to boost morale and requires no outside interaction. But you can make it a community event with a little friendly competition -- maybe even pitch in for some prizes.

5. Coordinate a Scavenger Hunt

At the beginning of the lockdown, neighborhoods came together for birthday parades and walking zoos with stuffed animals. It's time to gather that enthusiasm again and coordinate a scavenger hunt with the neighbors. This could include things that kids can find in windows or on front porches as they run through the neighborhood.

6. Host an Outdoor Movie Night

Again, outside is the best place to be, so why not host a movie night? Throw a fun Halloween movie on the projector and invite as many families as you can fit safely in your yard. Everyone can bring their own food and drinks, and you can have single serving treats available if you'd like.

7. "Boo" Your Neighbor

One favorite activity is to "Boo" your neighbors. By leaving a treat on their front porch and letting them know you're thinking of them, you can spread Halloween love without having to go inside. We recommend you skip the baked goodies this year, but you may want to include some prepackaged beverages.

While we all hope the kids can go trick-or-treating, like many decisions this year, it isn't up to us. So file these ideas away if your town or installation decides that traditional trick-or-treating isn't going to happen. A prepared military spouse is always ready with a plan.

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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