This year, Halloween is shaping up to look a lot different than previous years. Although Windsor and Essex County officially moved to Stage 3 of Ontario’s public health measures in mid-August, the current uptick in cases all around the province has many people worried.
As a result, the provincial government and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit have both encouraged the public to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people outside of your household at all times.
This has left many parents and Halloween enthusiasts scrambling to figure out ways to celebrate the spookiest season of the year. If you’ve recently bought a house for sale, and were looking forward to Halloween as an opportunity to meet your neighbours, don’t despair. Just because large social gatherings are prohibited doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your Halloween, meet new friends, and make memories with your family. You just have to do it safely.
Here are some of our favourite suggestions for enjoying a spooky, socially distant Halloween this year.
Visit a pumpkin patch
To get yourself into the Halloween spirit, visit a pumpkin patch to pick up the perfect jack-o-lantern pumpkin and some seasonal treats. This is a great outing because it takes place entirely outdoors, so it’s safer than most grocery stores. Just make sure to mask up before you go, and follow all the rules that the farm or patch has put in place.
Here are some of the best pumpkin patches in Windsor, Chatham, and southwest Ontario. Just check this site for info on opening and closing times, as well as any other info you need to plan your visit. If you want to avoid large crowds, try to visit on a weekday or early in the morning.
Decorate your home
Instead of hosting a party and saving all the decorations for inside your house, treat Halloween like Christmas this year, and decorate the outside of your home. It’s a great way to share the festive spirit with your friends and neighbours. You can repurpose strings of lights and other Christmas décor, but add some pumpkins, scarecrows, and spiderwebs to make it a bit more spooky.
Do a movie marathon
Instead of hosting an event in your living room, use a few untraditional methods to host a spooky movie marathon either outdoors, or on Zoom. If you choose to do it outdoors, just hook up a projector and a blank screen, and play some family-friend Halloween movies throughout the day. Then, invite friends and family over for a socially distanced visit. You can supply blankets, and get everyone into the Halloween mood by buying a few hay bales and using those as seats.
If you host a movie marathon over Zoom, you’ll need to purchase the paid version of the software and make a schedule for anyone who wants to join in. Then, give out the Zoom meeting link, and invite people to tune in and chat as they watch the same movies.
Get neighbours together for a costume parade
One of the things that a lot of kids are missing this year is going to school in their Halloween costume. If your kids have friends in the neighbourhood, you can make up for the loss of their school’s Halloween costume parade by hosting your own.
Set a time and a route, then encourage families from the neighbourhood to walk along the route at the set time, showing off their costumes and greeting their friends and neighbours.
Creative treasure hunts
Instead of aimlessly wandering through the neighbourhood looking at decorations, make it a treasure hunt! This is especially fun with younger kids. Pick one or two Halloween symbols, like a black cat or a spider, then see how many examples of these you can see throughout the neighbourhood.
Safer trick or treating
If you regularly get lots of trick-or-treaters, not doing anything this year might feel like a big disappointment. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make trick-or-treating safer.
Leave candy at the curb
Instead of inviting trick or treaters up to your front door, leave a bowl of candy at the curb, with a sign inviting everyone to take one piece each. Then, settle yourself at your front step or on your porch, and watch the kids in their costumes walk by.
Make a candy hedge
Another fun way to avoid high-contact trick-or-treating is to make a candy hedge. Use clothespins to affix miniature candy bars and other treats to a tree or hedge outside your home, then invite trick-or-treaters to select their own treat.
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We know that one of the best things about moving into a new home is figuring out how to celebrate holidays in a fresh, new space. With these fun ideas, you can avoid contact with people outside your bubble, while still engaging in the time-honoured traditions of trick-or-treating, or celebrating Halloween with friends.