It Makes Me Sad to Say, but I Truly Don't Think Kids Should Be Trick-or-Treating This Year
Boy in skeleton costume holding bowl full of sweets
If you look around the city my family currently calls home, you can hardly tell that we are in the middle of a global pandemic that doesn't seem to be showing any signs of easing anytime soon. It seems that many people in my city have regained a false sense of prepandemic normalcy, even though there are still hundreds of new cases in my area every day, the local test positivity rate has increased by over 10 percent and the novel coronavirus is now shining in our community to be well anchored. I've heard of soccer parties where few people wear masks and even less social distance. It looks like the restaurant parking lots are worryingly full. I've seen the local university quickly become a hotspot with COVID-19 positive students making embarrassing videos at house parties. And as a parent, I know how local elementary school teachers and their children were quarantined less than two weeks into the school year. This is why my children are home schooled, why I still haven't set foot in a shop or restaurant since March, why we only have small and socially distant outdoor family gatherings, and why unfortunately my kids don't do trick or treating will be this year.
I can be accused of being overly cautious and overly restrictive, but there is no denying the fact that thousands of Americans suffer the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 every day. Much of the prevention and mitigation measures that have been scientifically proven to slow the spread of the virus are largely based on social responsibility - the idea that we as individuals have an ethical obligation to work together, compromise, and use practices that doing this will benefit the common good and our society as a whole. I want my children to realize and understand that we all have a role to play in fighting the spread of COVID-19, even if it means temporarily giving up some of our favorite activities and traditions. We will look at this Halloween and the upcoming Christmas season as an opportunity to be creative, focus on spending time with our immediate families, and establish new traditions and new ways of celebrating.
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Fall with pumpkin spices, soccer memorabilia, and the unforgettable smell of tailgate grills emerges earlier this year to keep our collective mood going. I understand the overwhelming need and need for things to feel more normal. I feel, like countless others around the world, deep frustration and irritability attributed to the fatigue of COVID-19. Damn it, I've had enough of it. However, with the potential flu season and the increasing cases of coronavirus, there is a risk that children and their families will be invited to our doorstep to distribute candy and take our son through our neighborhood to get candy from the homes of others that I do don't want to enter. Wanting more normality and acting like the pandemic is over are two very different things.
Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays since I was a kid, and the idea of not celebrating it at all definitely doesn't cross my mind. My children also love it when one of them celebrates a birthday around the same time. Instead of trying trick or treating this year, we're planning to start a new tradition of a backyard Halloween Carnival rocking for apples, spooky games with lots of candy rewards, pumpkin decorations and a mini haunted house, followed by a kid-friendly one Halloween film festival. Grandparents will dress up and help out (socially distant, of course), and our kids will continue to wear their much-anticipated Halloween costumes.
Our porch lights will be off and no candy will be given out as we are in our back yard creating precious memories and a new tradition that hopefully will last. Parents across the country should consider doing something similar. Instead of trying trick or treating, host a pumpkin decorating party, spooky game night, or a family harvest festival. Our neighborhoods can still be filled with the creepy sounds of haunted houses and the joyful noise of children celebrating Halloween, even if it looks a little different this year.
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