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How Families Are Doing the COVID Halloween

Much has been canceled, but it's still possible to trick-or-treat
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2020 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ghosts, skeletons, princesses, and black cats roamed the streets as usual this Halloween, but they kept their distance, wore face coverings and carried hand sanitizer in their quest for treats, the AP reports. Like with everything else this year, the pandemic also left its mark on Halloween. Parades, parties, and haunted houses were canceled due to bans on large gatherings and concerns that spooky celebrations could spread the coronavirus. But across the US, parents and costumed kids found ways to preserve the essence of the holiday Saturday while also observing the rules of social distancing. Among the solutions:

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  • In the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Tomeka Ray took her 4-year-old daughter, Diamond, trick-or-treating in the afternoon. The girl, dressed as a princess, wore her mask and carried sanitizer, with more of the disinfecting gel in the car for good measure. At one home neighbors had rigged a remote treat-delivery system fashioned out of a ventilation tube, with a cardboard cutout at the end colored to make it look like a dragon's mouth.
  • In Glen Allen, Virginia, just outside Richmond, neighbors left individually wrapped bags of candy on tables at the end of driveways to avoid having dozens of kids coming to their doors and sticking their hands in the same big, germy candy bowls. Matt Cheadle, a 35-year-old furniture designer, called it "extremely" socially distanced trick-or-treating.
  • New York City's health department recommended avoiding large groups, haunted houses and bobbing for apples—"Keep your spit to yourself," it said in an advisory. Officials urged people instead to focus on safe activities like pumpkin carving, home decorating, outdoor scavenger hunts, and virtual costume parties.
  • In New Hampshire, where officials advised against door-to-door trick-or-treating or group events, Betsy Curtin and her sons visited their grandparents' houses while in costume—7-year-old Alex as Batman and 9-year-old Charlie as Captain America. Then back home for pizza and a movie. "I only bought Kit Kats for them, so I've officially ruined their weekend," Curtin said. "Hoping the grandparents come through with specialty chocolates."
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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