Can Mom Safely Celebrate Halloween?
"Halloween is coming, and it is one of the great pleasures of fall for my mother to hand out Halloween candy for trick or treat. She still lives in her own home, and there are quite a few children in her neighborhood.
With mother’s advanced age and COVID everywhere, we are wondering if it is safe for her to hand out candy this year. She loves doing this and we would hate to take away the opportunity for a bit of entertainment. Is there a way she can participate, or is this the year we turn off the porch light and close the drapes?"
Halloween could be great this year. Everyone gets to wear a mask and in fact it is good for you! Finally--a holiday that is somewhat COVID friendly. Guests stay outside. The interaction between host and guest is brief and no touching occurs. This holiday is about as good as it gets for being reasonably safe for your mother.
I think you should work with your mother to make Halloween night memorable, because it may be the only holiday this winter that you will be able to help her safely celebrate.
Here are my recommendations for a fun and safe Halloween trick-or-treat event for mom and the children that come to her door.
- Make a costume for your mother. Half the fun of Halloween is figuring out what you are going to wear. Something out of the ordinary is best as it garners the most comments, which translate to the best memories. At least that’s how it goes at my house.
- Of course, her costume needs to incorporate a good mask. The mask needs to fit well on her face and she needs to keep it on the entire trick-or-treat time. No touching or adjusting of the mask is allowed. Avoid any mask that slips, which many do.
- Next, set the stage to make it a safe event. Being fully costumed and masked may make it difficult to open the door safely. Consider having her seated on the porch in a lawn or kitchen chair. Costumes can be hazardous to your health and risk a fall for an elderly person who may have vision, balance, or mobility issues.
- Set the candy up at her side on a table.
- Now the most important step is keeping people from entering her space. Therefore, I recommend that she hand the candy out with a grabber or device that extends her reach and keeps the trick-or-treaters from getting too close to her. The parents will understand. You can place a sign or large X on the ground where the trick-or-treaters are to stand. Simply note how the stores are doing it.
- To be even safer, you can erect a bit of Plexiglas around her or include a face shield in her costume design. The mask is still a must, though.
- On Halloween night, I recommend that you are present to fill her candy bowl or help her manage the crowd, applying the same parameters to yourself.
- Skip parties. People get a bit too close and will remove masks to drink.
I believe Halloween can be close to normal this year, and even more fun than usual with a little planning. Mother will enjoy the entire process if she has any sense of adventure, which I suspect she does.
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