By Kim Praniewicz
It’s scary to think, but Halloween will soon be upon us – and after a turbulent year, we can all look forward to a bit of fall fun.
But depending on the level of COVID-19 risk in your city, neighborhood or family, traditional trick-or-treating may take a back seat to socially distant festivities this year. No fear, though: you can still enjoy the season at home.
Here are some tricks for treating in 2020:
•Skip seasonal sales. While marketers are eager to lure customers back into shop aisles, you don’t need to go to a specialized holiday store or even a big box store to get the best deals. At Goodwill, you can find costumes and décor, classic movies, accessories and DIY supplies for a fraction of the retail price. It’s also a great way to give back: 90 percent of revenue generated at Goodwill stores goes to support the nonprofit’s employment services and could help many families who are between jobs this holiday season.
•Add some “haunt” to your house. Spending more time at home can make your surroundings feel tired or dreary – but decorations are an easy way to get in the spirit. Have your kids fill a bag with Halloween decorations and DIY craft supplies at Goodwill, and decorate each room of the house with a different spooky theme. Dig up a graveyard in the garage, concoct a witchy kitchen or plant a patio pumpkin patch. Don’t forget to put on some Halloween tunes to set the mood.
•Try new traditions. Even if you aren’t going door-to-door this year, you can still give your kids a Halloween experience. Host a backyard “Halloween hunt” where kids can search for candy in costume, or have them “trick-or-treat” through the different rooms of the house. Older kids may have fun solving puzzles, answering riddles or competing in Halloween-themed games to earn their treats.
Creepy crafts and activities can help your kids get into the spirit of the season. Let each of your kids pick out a DVD and host a monster movie night at home, or fill a basket with clothes and compete to see who can brew up the scariest – or funniest – costume.
•Don a ghastly mask. In the early days of Halloween, children wore masks to ward off evil spirits – and this year, they can help keep your family safe from COVID-19. Halloween-themed facemasks are already available in an array of styles, including jack-o-lantern mouths, superheroes, cartoon characters and more. Alternatively, you can host a DIY mask-decorating event for the whole family. (Just be careful that your decorations don’t impair your mask’s ability to keep you safe and that they meet CDC guidelines. Some fabrics may be too thin.)
•Trick-or-treat strategically. Even if your neighborhood has a plan for socially distant trick-or-treating, it’s a good idea to exercise plenty of caution. Consider setting up a table of individually wrapped goodies, with a hand sanitizer station for arriving visitors. Of course, with sweets come sticky fingers – so it may be a good idea to distribute crayons and party favors, like bracelets, lightsticks or other gifts instead of candy.
Halloween may look a little different this year – but with a little extra effort and planning, your family can stay safe, have fun and enjoy a delightfully spooky holiday.
Kim Praniewicz is vice president of marketing and mission advancement for Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. The nonprofit has 30 retail locations across Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Brevard and Volusia counties, including newly opened stores in Lake Nona, Viera, Lady Lake and Winter Garden.