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Halloween & Covid-19


Halloween is approaching and it won’t be the same as prior years – no matter where we live. Things are really different. For some children, this pandemic has been and will only get harder. What they know and remember about past holiday seasons will be vastly different from how we will approach upcoming celebrations. The social distancing, inability to share, need for a mask, isolation from our elders, and the ever present question (“Is the Coronavirus over yet?”) leaves everyone feeling disconnected. 

With Halloween, the language we use to explain the circumstances around a favorite holiday is especially important. We don’t yet know how this will affect our children’s mental health in the next 5 years. Shelter-in-place and moving our social interactions as well as schooling to virtual platforms, like Zoom, are taking a toll we cannot quantify.  Being mindful of our language is crucial. The ability to maintain some tradition and observe this holiday will be very important to help maintain a sense of normalcy for everyone. Here are some ways to keep the Halloween festivities safe and fun and create new memories!


When it comes to explaining Halloween and COVID-19, tell your child we are keeping others safe, so we are not trick-or-treating. I hear parents telling their children, “There is a virus killing people and making them sick, so we are staying home”.  Think of the messages you are telling your child with the words you are using. Do you want your child thinking that they are making a difference with their actions or do you want them to be scared that they will get sick? The mental health aspect of the pandemic is a real concern. The more we can make things less scary and more approachable, the better for the child in the long run.  We can still tell the child that we are in this together, so we wear a mask and keep our distance. That is our part in keeping everyone safe. 


As a family, pick a costume for each person. Have the entire family dress up on the day. What a great way to connect with one another. Your child can still Zoom in with their classmates while you are working with your fun superhero outfit on and enjoying your day. And don’t forget to take pictures! Decorate the house. Make it feel like Halloween with spider webs, pumpkins and any other ornaments your family likes. Help the kids draw scary pictures that you can put on the wall. Don’t forget to pick up a pumpkin and carve it out. Proudly display it in front of your house!


There are so many things you can do with your child around Halloween – the options are limitless.  A fun holiday favorite is baking and decorating cookies. Bring some holiday magic to dinner by adding a theme inspired by your costumes. You can also carve a pumpkin together, use the insides to bake a pie for dessert and roast the seeds for a snack. Think of things to do as a family to create new memories during a pandemic. After dinner, put on a family-friendly Halloween movie. The most important thing to enjoy your time together! 


If you’re looking for a safe way to go trick-or-treating, try to contact other families that you know and trust. Then go to those houses only. Grandparents or other family members will likely be more than happy to join in. Yes, some of the festive atmosphere is lost since you probably aren’t walking from house to house and are instead driving from one home to another. But the child will still experience the continuity of going up to a house and ringing a doorbell to say “trick-or-treat”! Remember to send a text or notify whoever is at the house that it’s your trick-or-treater at their door, so they will answer the door prepared with candy to hand out. If you want to be really creative, craft a tube made of toilet paper or paper towel rolls where candy can be sent through the tube, like a slide, to the child. Anything that helps make this time in our children’s lives special and memorable is what is important. Lastly, don’t forget to wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer! 

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