Patriot Mobility Inc

The Many Challenges for Halloween 2020

With 2020 being one of those years that we would all like to forget, looking for bright spots is important for our emotional and psychological well-being. For kids, where the events of the world around them are normally hard to understand, 2020 is a year where the need for normalcy is even more important. For kids, there are certain touchpoints throughout the year that equate to normalcy. However, with the pandemic bringing shutdowns of so many of our day to day routines along with social distancing, those touchpoints are hanging by a thread. Like Halloween.

In any other year, the planning of a costume and the anticipation of the many Halloween activities beyond trick or treating (school parties, Halloween costume parades, pumpkin picking, haunted house visits, etc) often accompany the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. However, with those two points in time thrown into disarray and the cancellation or modification of Halloween related activities, the normalcy kids need is in short supply. For children in wheelchairs, more so, as the Halloween holiday is one where the lack of normalcy is even direr as the risk of exposure to Covid-19 holds far greater health implications.

As parents scramble to maintain a level of normalcy for their kids, there is a multitude of suggestions as to how to celebrate the holiday. Along with their many other announcements and alerts, the Center for Disease Control has offered up recommendations of various activities to replace or augment variations of the traditions our kids have grown accustomed to, each with its own risk factor. Here are a few that we believe are the most helpful for parents of children in wheelchairs. To read the entire CDC recommendation, click here. Remember, regardless of what the CDC advises, state and local governments may put in place rules and regulations that would over-ride the suggestions below or the suggestions of the federal government or any federal agency.

Lower risk activities

  • Neighborhood Halloween scavenger hunt – give children lists of Halloween-themed things to look for as you travel your neighborhood admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Virtual Halloween costume contest with their friends and relatives.
  • Indoor scavenger hunt – search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.

Moderate risk activitiesSome of these may require coordination with your neighbors

  • One-way trick-or-treating – individually wrapped goodie bags lined up for families to grab and go at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard, to maintain social distancing. If you are preparing goodie bags, wear rubber gloves or be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags. Wearing a face shield or mask may also be done in the event of sneezing or if the person preparing the goodie bags has a non-Covid 19 seasonal cold or flu.
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is required and enforced, and people can social distance properly. (If screaming is likely to occur, greater distancing is advised.)
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before or wear gloves while touching pumpkins or picking apples and the wearing of masks is encouraged and enforced while people maintain social distancing.

Higher risk activities Avoid these higher-risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treating events where the hand-to-hand distribution of goodies occurs and there is no social distancing.
  • Indoor, crowded costume parties where social distancing is not possible or not encourages and where more lax mask rules may be in effect.
  • Traditional indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming and where social distancing and mask requirements are lax.
  • Hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household.
  • Traveling to fall festivals and other seasonal events not located in your community (either if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19 is occurring or the community you are traveling to does not provide a status of their community health situation.)

Also, remember that a costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. If your child’s costume involved a mask that completely covers their face, is certain to have your child try on the costume mask with a protective mask underneath it to determine breath-ability. If there is a breathing issue, reconsidering the costume mask would be advised to avoid serious health issues.