Way back in April, many of us got the first taste of what a holiday (Easter, Passover or Ramadan) would look like during the coronavirus pandemic. While we hoped that the experience would be a unique one, few of us imagined that come the holiday season we would still be dealing with the pandemic, and possibly staring a third wave in the face along with Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving turkey and even Christmas presents.
But here we are.
Fortunately, we are more informed and better able to move forward with the holiday season. While we still must take new precautions and might have to give up some of the things we have been used to in the past, at least for this year, there is no reason to give up on the fun and holiday cheer that is critical to the well-being of our community. Let’s go through how to celebrate the upcoming holidays with the experts.
Halloween tips for trick-or-treating and masks
Perhaps the most social of all the holidays, Halloween presents several challenges during a pandemic. Door-to-door trick or treating and even trunk-or-treat celebrations are considered “Higher Risk Activities” because of the close interactions between kids and adults and the exchange of candy hand-to-hand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Preferable, but still in the “Moderate Risk Activities” category, is taking part in one-way trick-or-treating, where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go at the end of a driveway. The CDC also says attending costume parties with friends falls in the moderate risk category, so long as the event is outdoors and there is social distancing. Although Halloween costumes often involve masks, the CDC says they should not substitute for cloth masks and that wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask can be dangerous if it makes it hard to breathe. Instead, the CDC recommends Halloween-themed cloth masks.
The safest or “Lower Risk Activities” for children involve scavenger hunt trick-or-treat searches with family member in and around your home instead of going house to house. Virtual costume parties, movie nights (scary movies, of course!) with family and decorating your home are also safe.
Don’t forget The Children’s Trust 11th Spooky Symphony for the safest way to celebrate Halloween, as this year the annual event is being held virtually at 3 p.m., Sunday, October 25. To stream the event for free, visit https://alhambraorchestra.org/youtube.
For more low risk activities, and to know what activities to avoid with your children visit the CDC’s website.
Thanksgiving Day, the safer way
One of the most traveled weeks of the year, the Thanksgiving holiday will be equally challenging this year as the CDC says that travel “increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.” It recommends staying home this year as the best way to protect your family, and surveys have shown that as much as 31 million fewer travelers are expected this year, so don’t feel guilty about not seeing the in-laws this year.
Skip large family gatherings in favor of a small dinner with those you already live with and shop online to get all the goodies associated with the festivities. More than ever, it’s a good year to watch sports events, parades and movies from home this Thanksgiving.
If you do want to celebrate with people outside of the household, the CDC recommends outdoor dinners, something possible for those in Miami-Dade but not in other parts of the country. It also says to avoid crowded parades or sporting events and avoiding large parties with people outside of your household. The good news is that so many families have taken part in virtual gatherings already this year, so using that experience during the holidays will be second nature.
The CDC also recommends against going shopping in crowded stores this year during Thanksgiving and that means Black Friday should be avoided this year. Walmart even said they will remain closed on Thanksgiving this year, as did Target and others. Instead, focus on Cyber Monday and other online shopping options as the great saving will likely be moved into the virtual world.
If you are patient and plan ahead, there is no reason to miss out on Halloween and Thanksgiving fun this year. It will also give you a good test run for Christmas and New Year right around the corner.