ARLINGTON, VA (AP) – American families are creating creepy contraptions to give out candy on Halloween as a way to protect trick-or-treaters from getting or spreading COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic has altered many holidays and Halloween is no different, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deeming traditional trick-or-treating, haunted houses and indoor costumes parties as high-risk activities for spreading the virus.
So Halloween enthusiasts started brainstorming alternatives that follow the CDC’s safety guidelines.
One popular idea brewing on social media during the pandemic is the 6-foot candy chute which allows homeowners to dispense treats to costumed kids from a safe distance.
Amanda Kurzendoerfer, her husband and three boys started building and installing “COVID safe candy slides” on the railings of homes in their Washington D.C. neighborhood for a small fee.
“Parents always have a lot on their plates. But this year, it’s just off the charts,” Amanda Kurzendoerfer said. “We are spending more time together with our kids. It’s a really good opportunity to do a project with the kids, to make it fun, to make it extra special this year.”
Harry Kurzendoerfer, Amanda’s eldest, said the materials are affordable and can be easily customized to match the other Halloween decorations in someone’s yard.
“And then we took some cheesecloth and dyed it in some tea and then we got like these skeleton bones. Each one has a different type. Some of them might have a hand or a foot or a head,” Harry Kurzendoerfer added.
On a typical Halloween Parresh McMahon of Arlington Virginia said they usually have upwards of 100 trick-or-treaters on the holiday.
While she does not expect those numbers this year, McMahon is hoping her neighbors also install candy chutes to keep the Halloween tradition alive.
“I went ahead and went to Home Depot, I got about six feet of PVC pipe and a bunch of wrapping paper, decorated it up, put on a couple of zip ties, tied it to my banister and I thought, well, I’m safe up there. Kids are safe down there. Let’s go ahead and get him some candy. So I bought some Clorox wipes. I wipe my hands. I wipe the bag of candy,” Parresh McMahon said.
McMahon’s two children, 14-year-old Kian and 8-year-old Olivia, plan to wear masks and gloves with their Halloween costumes and will trick-or-treat with adults and a few friends they’ve been isolating with since the beginning of quarantine.
“It’s a big holiday, so… If we cancel it, everybody’s just going to be really bummed out,” Kian McMahon said. “Trick or treating would really bring some spirit back to us. Like hope that this will be all over pretty soon.”
Other safety considerations being offered by the CDC include setting up one-way trick-or-treating stations where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go, and washing hands or using hand sanitzer before eating any treats.
“But if you’re someone who turns out your front porch light, that’s OK. There’s always next year,” Parresh McMahon said.