by Emma Jean, Staff Writer

If one of the goals of trick-or-treating is to bring some scares, they may not be too successful with kids this year — but they’re knocking it out of the damn park with adults. It’s difficult to imagine how a holiday tradition revolving around children roaming the streets in hoards, breathing in the homes of strangers, and asking for unsanitized goods could be done in a manner that doesn’t result in outbreaks of COVID-19 in both kids and adults. I think it’s natural for anyone to be nervous about this sort of thing. But according to the opinions that really matter, it can be done. Considering the amount of kids and adults that children come into contact with at school, it becomes more and more understandable. 

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) released an outline for how usual Halloween festivities can take place, with a section dedicated to trick-or-treating. For an activity that seems to defy the interpersonal laws of social distancing, the list is short, to-the-point, and has practical advice on how to do it safely. 

According to the guide, the key components to most Halloween activities, for both trick-or-treaters and those giving them their goods, are staying outside, masking up, staying with a group of six people or less, and keeping your hands clean. As long as everyone follows those guidelines, Halloween should be a safe-as-possible event that doesn’t stop kids from missing out on some of the best days of childhood. 

Parents have the best judgement on how this works for their own children, but there seems to be little reason for Halloween alarm. Don’t just take it from me, a childless 19-year-old with no personal investment in this; take it from Dr. Henry and her team. 

If you wish to hand out candy and help these crazy kids have a safe night, the BCCDC recommends using tongs, individually wrapped bags and other methods to reduce surface contamination. If combined with the conventional guidelines of being outdoors, wearing masks and tips like avoiding decorations like smoke machines that could cause coughing (Huh! Never would have thought of that! These people are smart!), Halloween can be a healthy holiday for all. 

If fellow childless 19-year-old adjacents are looking for something to do beside go to house parties (please don’t go to house parties) and find themselves in a residence that trick-or-treaters will likely visit, why not go to town creating a socially distant fun way to give candy to neighbourhood kids? Put a fence six feet away from the door and make a game of throwing it to them; hang goody bags on a clothesline; put a slide at your doorstep and slip candy down to kids; the possibilities are endless. If you’re anything like me, solving a fun, creative problem that has no bearing on outside life is an unmatched mental escape. And if you take up this one, you’re contributing to your community while you’re at it. 

I know it can be easy to panic about the possibility of a virus infecting the kids in our lives, but as long as we follow the guidelines set out by the BCCDC, this should be a perfectly safe way for them, and the adults facilitating it, to have fun and stay healthy.