Halloween in Montgomery County — what it could and should look like

Face shields that featuring Halloween are manufactured at a printing company Handa in Niiza, Saitama Prefecture on Oct. 6, 2020. About 10 kinds of illustrations such as Frankenstein, ghost, animals are printed on face shields.

Kazuki Wakasugi

Face shields that featuring Halloween are manufactured at a printing company Handa in Niiza, Saitama Prefecture on Oct. 6, 2020. About 10 kinds of illustrations such as Frankenstein, ghost, animals are printed on face shields. “I hope face shields make people feel safe and happy,” Kiyomi Tsugawa, Handa’s president, said. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

It’s Halloween night and you’re dressed up in your spookiest costume. You’re arriving at your first door for a fun, delicious Halloween candy treat. You knock on the door yelling, “Trick or Treat!” to get a handful of what you’ve been craving… a bottle of hand sanitizer?

Halloween, the holiday everyone knows and loves. It’s the one day during the year when anyone can dress up as whatever they want. From getting handfuls of sweet treats to going through mazes to going to haunted houses, it was the one night where we once had no regulations, but is now full of rules.

The Coronavirus has taken much fun and life from us; we’ve been living the reality of wearing masks and gloves, sanitizing our hands, getting our temperatures taken everywhere we go, and socially distancing ourselves. Despite all of the regulations set in place for obvious reasons, people will always find a way to celebrate Halloween, but it will definitely be very different this year.

All throughout the United States, there are different guidelines for Halloween this year. Depending on where you live, your age, your health, and what you usually do to celebrate will predict how you may be spending this day. In reality, Halloween can’t be totally canceled. If you’re in an area with little cases you’re most likely still able to have a fun time with friends while still keeping the party outside, having limited people, and wearing masks.

Many of the usual events we do for Halloween are being heavily discouraged. Some states cannot even go trick-or-treating because the idea of hundreds of kids running around does not sound safe. Big events like parades, costume running races, and haunted houses are more likely to disappear–but some will stay depending on how these activities will be following guidelines and taking precautions.

North Penn, located in Montgomery County has its own guidelines recommended for Halloween by the CDC. But what must we do to stay safe on this spooky night?

Halloween gatherings such as parades, haunted houses, and costume parties should follow general guidelines for indoor and outdoor events, public or private. Trick-or-treating should be limited to household contacts. If a different individual from a separate house is present, a mask must be worn and objects must not be shared. Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items. Do not grab candy from a bowl. As hard as that sounds, use the “grab and go” method which includes individually wrapped bags of treats. A “one way” trick-or-treating route is how you should be traveling. Trick-or-treaters must go in one direction up and down the streets/routes to limit exposure to other groups or individuals. Of course, we can’t forget about Trunk-or-Treat. Park cars at least 15 ft apart in each direction from other vehicles.

In addition to all of those guidelines, Montgomery County is also suggesting that you should limit how many people can walk up to a vehicle at a time. Eliminate going to areas where people would be tempted to congregate. Be creative with finding ways to play games without the necessity of touching an object or surface. Designate an individual person to monitor crowd control. Designate adults (who can be committed to applying hand sanitizer) to give out candy rather than encourage lots of hands reaching inside the bowl. Following these guidelines will lead to a happy, healthy, and COVID-free Halloween.

What are some spooky fun alternatives to have a safe Halloween? How about a candy graveyard? Put some fake tombstones in your yard with prizes and candy piled up next to each tombstone. One kid can enter at a time and candy and treats should be packaged individually. You could also participate in reverse trick-or-treating, similar to drive by birthday parades. Those in the car can throw candy or deliver it to the people in costumes in their yards.

How about handing out candy? You can decorate tables or booths in front yards where an individual or cupped candy can be given away. Invent and build candy chutes for contactless trick-or-treating or hang candy from the fence for people to grab. A social distance costume bicycle parade is when costume wearers take the streets as a catwalk to present their costumes, hand out, and collect candy. People can also decorate bikes, wagons, golf carts, and cars to show off their looks.

Why not drop a Halloween goodie pack or pumpkin on the doorsteps of friends and loved ones? Or, I bet you didn’t realize eggs aren’t just for Easter. Buy Halloween-themed eggs or use Halloween themed items and add candy and hide them in the yard or around the house. Lastly, the classic pumpkin carving. You can carve or decorate pumpkins with friends and family outside, at a safe distance.

We can now all celebrate Halloween by following these guidelines presented above and will not only get sweet treats and be able to use alternatives to do our favorite activities but will end the night safe and healthy.