There’s a pandemic on, and it can be tough to find ways to let kids get out and have fun in a safe manner, especially if you want to do something that brings the whole community together in, say, a traditional cultural celebration. So here’s an idea:
- Think up a theme for your event that makes it easy to include masks in a fun, playful way. Perhaps something involving costumes?
- Create a “drive by” (walk-by) type event, where rather than congregating in large groups, children stop for a very short (less than one minute) visit at a neighbor’s house, staying outdoors at all times and traveling in sibling groups or paired with just one or two close friends from their usual bubble or pod.
- Insist that all treats related to the festivity be store-bought, individual servings, fully sealed.
- Build up a culture of parental supervision over the consuming of treats, so that it is fully ingrained, through generations of public service announcements, that children must not eat their treats until the parents have looked over the offerings.
Some additional special-to-COVID precautions:
- Have the children collect all their treats in a bag, so that parents who have extraordinary concerns about germs on the sealed candy wrappers can simply give their children different treats to snack on the night of the large, festive, communal activity, and children can eat their collected candy later in the week after any germs have had a chance to die.
- Elderly or vulnerable persons who want to participate can set out their bowl of treats for children to self-serve, while the hosts watch from behind the safety of a glass storm door or window.
Wouldn’t that make a great neighborhood event for a dark, chilly autumn evening? What a great way to safely add a bit of fun and communal spirit to the vigil of All Saints, for example?
Maybe we should try it this year, as a safe alternative to gathering in large groups indoors. Maybe we could give it a catchy name to help build up enthusiasm. Perhaps, “Trick-or-Treating?” Something like that.