Safe Ways to Celebrate Halloween this Year

By Lorna Baxley


Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. This year, though, everyone will have to be a bit more careful with how they celebrate. The CDC says, “Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration.” Despite the danger that celebrating with your friends may pose this year, there are still ways to have some fun on Halloween.


Extra Decorating

Spooky decorations are part of the Halloween fun

Putting up spooky decorations is one of the most fun parts of celebrating Halloween. This year, since you can’t go trick-or-treating, try going all out on decorating your lawn and house! Cauldrons, faux spider webs, fake tombstones, and even lifesize, poseable dummies are all popular Halloween decorations. Even if you can’t go hunting for candy on the 31st, you can still get some satisfaction from your awesome decorating skills. Try making your own paper ghosts to put in trees, or paint some pictures of scary monsters. Have some fun with it!


Make Your Own Treats

Candy apples are a yummy treat for Halloween

Instead of going to other people’s houses to ask for candy, try making your own this year. Tastes Better From Scratch has a simple recipe for chocolate and caramel dipped marshmallows that you and your family can make!

You Will Need:

· 35 regular size marshmallows (about a bag)

· 1 bag Caramel Bits, or homemade

· 2 cups milk chocolate chips (or Chocolate Melting Wafers)

· 18 lollipop sticks


Instructions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Secure two marshmallows to each cake pop stick or straw.

  3. Add caramel bits and 2 tablespoons of water to a small saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until completely melted.

  4. Dip marshmallows in the caramel and swirl or use a spoon to help coat them on all sides. Allow excess caramel to drip off, and place on the prepared pan.

  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  6. Add chocolate chips or wafers to a microwave safe bowl on 50% power for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 15 seconds, until smooth and melted. Dip caramel coated marshmallows in the chocolate. Use a spoon to help smooth chocolate all around.

  7. Allow excess chocolate to drip off, and return to the parchment lined pan.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until chocolate is set. Store leftovers in the fridge!


Halloween Games

Apple Bobbing is an entertaining Halloween game

You can still have fun without being around your friends! Make up some games with your family members and have competitions with each other. You can even make a Google Meet or Zoom room and do some fun challenges with them. Cornhole, apple bobbing, and scavenger hunts are all interesting things your family can do together outside this Halloween. You could also try playing some Halloween-based board games together, like Clue or Betrayal at the House on the Hill. Add some extra incentive to play by making up rewards for the winners of the game! Having fun with your close family is one of the best ways to safely celebrate holidays this year.


Scary Movies

Scary movies are a fun, yet frightening way to celebrate Halloween

Stay at home and indulge in some classic scary movies this year! A Quiet Place, Insidious, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Lights Out are all popular scary movies that are rated PG-13. Mark Griffiths in Psychology Today writes, “According to a 2004 paper in the Journal of Media Psychology by Dr. Glenn Walters, the three primary factors that make horror films alluring are tension (generated by suspense, mystery, terror, shock, and gore), relevance (that may relate to personal relevance, cultural meaningfulness, the fear of death, etc.), and… unrealism.” Even if you don’t enjoy scary movies, you can still find some very popular, less-spooky Halloween movies such as Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Addams Family. Instead of going out at the risk of getting sick, have some fun at home by watching some Halloween movies!


Safely Organized Activities

Pumpkin Patches are a fun activity that can help promote social distancing

Visiting a pumpkin patch or going to a haunted house where everyone is required to socially distance, wear masks, and use hand sanitizer is a fun way to get out of the house and still stay safe. If you are desperate to get out of the house, well-organized events or activities that require safety precautions are a good option! Avoid large parties or traditional trick-or-treating.


Despite the inherent dangers in going out this year, there are still safe, fun ways to celebrate Halloween and other holidays. Happy Halloween!

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