Surviving a Halloween zone: 7 creative DIY home safety tips for trick-or-treating

Photo 1541550612167 0c62a4410bb8

A smoked-out pumpkin from Topeka. // Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

Is your home in a designated “trick-or-treat” zone? Are you worried about your annual neighborhood traditions becoming a super-spreader for COVID-19

You’re not alone, and there’s good news; lots of creative Halloween enthusiasts have been working to solve this problem since we realized COVID would last this long, and the good news is, there are solutions.

Here are some tips to help keep yourself, your family, and your neighborhood safe during this time, while still celebrating this whimsical time of year.

Get The Facts:

Brush up on the CDC Halloween guidelines (yes, the CDC has guidelines, and no, your Halloween mask does not replace your normal mask). Educate yourself on the safest ways to proceed for your household. The CDC lists activities from lowest risk to highest risk. You’ll find some of their ideas in this list.

Know The Safest Alternatives:

If you want to be as safe as possible, consider alternative in-home-only activities for your entire household.

  • Coordinate a virtual costume party with your friends.
  • Host a Zoom pumpkin carving event with the people you would normally invite over.
  • Decorate sugar cookies and watch your favorite Halloween movies at home.
  • Host a Zoom event where each friend brings a scary story to share.

Talk To Your Neighbors:

Find out if there’s a street-wide strategy for your neighborhood. Ask what other households are doing to stay safe.

  • Offer extra masks to families who may have run out.
  • Suggest kids use “candy grabbers” or distance grabbers to pick up candy.
  • Suggest each house place hand sanitizer in front of the house for people to use.
  • Consider setting up a street-wide pumpkin patch where one family group goes into the patch at a time and picks their pumpkins.

Come to the conversation with ideas and optimism; a lot can be done when an entire neighborhood is on the same page.

Make Your Yard a Visual Scavenger Hunt:

In lieu of a common bowl of candy, give kids a treat for the eyes. (Again, this works well if the whole neighborhood coordinates it). Hide large Halloween-themed decor around your yard, for people to see from the street. It’s like a yard-sized “Where’s Waldo?” In the front of your yard, set up a poster board sign with a list of items people can “spot.” From a smiling jack-o-lantern, to a silly skeleton, to an ominous eye, get creative and make your yard a visual treat.

Pre-Bag Your Candy:

Wash up and make goodie bags of candy ahead of time. They don’t have to be fancy (especially if you’re making a hundred of them). The purpose of the bag is that kids “take one,” and move on to the next house.

Avoid The Front Door:

Covid-19 spreads when people “share the air” and having kids walk up to your front door is an easy way to “share the air” and put yourself at risk. Instead, do the candy transactions or other activities out in the open, where there’s air circulation. Get creative blocking off areas where you don’t want people. Use ropes and spiderwebs, chains, and even lawn furniture with skeletons in it. Make it visually clear where you want people to go.

Distance Candy Distribution:

You, placing candy into a kid’s trick-or-treat bag, means you’re close enough to get or spread COVID-19. So how do you avoid this? There are some creative solutions to get candy to kids from a distance.

  • Some families are making a candy chute that spits candy out from a distance. Test it first to make sure you get it just right.
  • Use a clothesline system to distribute clothespinned candy bags. Incorporate a pulley, and you could give candy away from twenty feet.
  • Have a candy “throw zone” blocked off in your driveway. One kid at a time stands there, and you throw the candy bag to them from a distance. Remember to sanitize your hands before throwing.
  • As a last resort, you might place a large candy bowl at the front of your driveway and stay inside. It’s not going to help the kids socially distanced from each other, but it should keep them from coming to your door.

Here’s to a safe and successful Halloween for you and your loved ones.


Vanessa Alvarez is the Co-Founder of the Seattle-based real estate startup Nexme. She is dedicated to helping people find home and build community. 

Categories: Culture, Streetside