Like everything in the year 2020, Halloween plans are shifting as we continue to fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic. Our normal trick-or-treating is a tradition beloved by so many families and children that it is hard to envision the holiday taking place without it.
Although many communities are announcing trick or treat times, some folks still might feel uncomfortable participating this year. For those parents who simply cannot fathom the thought of their little ghosts and goblins coming into contact with Covid-19, excessive amounts of candy that although individually packaged must be sanitized, or having other parent’s little monsters all reaching into a bowl to choose the treat they want with their germ-ridden little paws, a more structured celebration could go a long way toward giving worried parents a little peace of mind. That’s why I think this year is the perfect year for a Halloween Block Party!
Along with all of the excellent reasons for having a block party like getting to know your neighbors and building a sense of community, everything we know about COVID-19 so far suggests that an outdoor environment is much less likely to contribute to the spread. And the good news is that autumn is the perfect time for outdoor fun! Use driveways, front yards, backyards, or all three to create a fun (and safe!) block party setting.
In addition to sanitizing the high-touch surfaces, provide a sanitation station at the party with disposable masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and disinfecting wipes. This will go a long way toward keeping everyone safe and worry-free as they participate in the party. I think providing sunscreen and bug spray is a good idea as well if you want to keep your community completely comfortable!
Often our neighborhood parties are of the “pot-luck” variety, but since it’s difficult to do that in a manner that is safe from the virus, I suggest forgoing any shared food. Individually wrapped candies for the trick or treaters could be the only food that is actually “shared.” Offering bottles of water or having “hydration stations” are great ideas since party-goers are sure to work up a thirst while participating in the fun activities you and your neighbors have planned.
Once you and your friends start getting creative, activity ideas will come easily. For example, you could have a carnival theme where anyone participating can set up a fun game in their driveway, or you could set up an obstacle course that starts at one house and goes all the way down the block and back. Once you start brainstorming, you’ll see that the possibilities are endless.
It's also a good idea to include a couple of activities that connect the community to each other more. I loved one idea I saw where chalk and chalk sprays were provided so that each family could contribute to a giant art project on the sidewalk. This would be a great way to have everyone “build” something together, and the resulting art could be enjoyed and appreciated for days after by everyone passing by.
Incorporating some kind of service element to your block party is another wonderful way to form a sense of community. For example, a canned food drive for the local soup kitchen or collecting warm hats and gloves for the homeless. These small efforts can help so much.
Finally, the perfect ending to any block party is -- a bicycle parade! Since this is a Halloween party, participants should definitely wear their costumes. It would also be amazing if bikes could be decorated somehow to go with the costumes. It could even be a haunted bike parade!
With just a little bit of creativity, a Halloween block party could become a neighborhood tradition -- even without the risk of contracting the CoronaVirus. This illness has taken its toll on our nation and the entire world. We don’t have a vaccine to help prevent this deadly disease yet, let alone a cure, but a safe and socially distanced block party could be a fun antidote to take our minds off the pandemic!
*Even though you won’t be sharing food at the party, your family still needs to eat. Check out all of the fun ideas for a Halloween meal on our website at https://bit.ly/2SILpe2.