Halloween 2020: Candy Chutes. Quarantined Books. Virtual Costume Contests.
To get in the Halloween spirit this year, Matt Thompson rigged up a zip line.
The contraption includes a ghost that delivers candy to children and adult beverages to their parents. A 30-foot steel cable runs from Mr. Thompson’s porch in Garden City, Mich., to a post near the sidewalk.
“We don’t get a ton of kids, but I’m thinking some people may show up for the free beer,” he says.
The $15 ghost from Party City runs on two pulleys: A wooden basket behind the ghost holds two beverages; Mr. Thompson attaches candy to the creature’s hands. He then gives a shove to send it out and pulls it back with a fishing reel. A video of the setup, posted on social media, has received a total of at least 25 million page views.
It’s already a scary time, which makes celebrating Halloween unusually complicated. Many of the usual activities are high risk: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people to avoid traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, crowded indoor costume parties and indoor haunted houses. Local governments have issued their own restrictions on activities that encourage gathering or draw crowds.
But many parents are desperate to find ways for their kids to celebrate. So they’re making gadgetry that delivers candy from 6 feet away, setting up backyard candy hunts and organizing virtual costume parades.
Andrew Beattie finally figured out something to do with a 6-foot shipping tube lying around in his basement. After weeks of pushing plastic dinosaurs and dolls through the top to play with his 6-year-old daughter, he had an idea: “What about candy?”
A chute at the front door of his home in Cincinnati would let him deliver candy while remaining at least 6 feet away from people.
The 43-year-old account manager wrapped orange duct tape and a string of lights around the tube, which he painted black. He installed it along the railing of the front steps to his home. He says he’ll wear a mask and instruct trick-or-treaters to hold their bag below the tube so the candy drops in.
In Manchester, N.H., officials are moving the usual indoor trick-or-treat celebration at City Hall outdoors. Business owners and officials will distribute children’s books that have been quarantined for 72 hours. In Vienna, Va., officials are rerouting an annual parade—with fewer floats—asking residents to watch from their sidewalks near home rather than congregate on the town’s main drag.
Only 58% of Americans said they expect to celebrate Halloween this year, down from 68% last year, according to a National Retail Federation poll of more than 7,600 U.S. adults. Fewer people plan to trick-or-treat, throw or attend a party, or visit a haunted house.
全美零售联合会(National Retail Federation)对7600多名美国成年人进行的一项民意调查显示，只有58%的美国人表示，他们预计今年会庆祝万圣节，低于去年的68%。越来越少的人计划玩“不招待就捣蛋”、投掷或参加聚会，或者参观鬼屋。
But some activities are up, with more people planning to decorate their homes and carve pumpkins. The CDC, whose guidance groups activities into lower, moderate and higher risk, puts those pursuits in its lower-risk category, along with virtual celebrations and candy hunts with your own family. In its moderate-risk category are activities such as small, outdoor costume parades where participants can remain 6 feet apart, or outdoor parties where people distance and wear protective masks.
Some families are doing a Halloween twist on the Easter egg hunt. In Livingston, Texas, 56-year-old Linda Tallichet plans to transform her 3.5-acre property into a Haunted Woods for her five grandchildren, ages 7 to 14, using lights, plastic skeletons and homemade signs. Candy will be hidden at different stations throughout the woods.
In Silver Spring, Md., Kate Maruyama, a senior programs manager for a study-abroad company, plans a spooky “candy search in the dark” for her two children. She will pull curtains shut, hide candy in different rooms of the house, offer clues, and then “let them have at it with a flashlight,” she says.
Ms. Maruyama says she is approaching Halloween this year as a month-long season of cooking projects and crafts. So far she and her children have painted pumpkins and decorated felt spiders with pompoms, ribbon scraps and plastic eyeballs. Also on the agenda: carving pumpkins and baking pumpkin seeds.
She is already thinking ahead, eyeing discounts on Halloween craft supplies to stash away for the children. “Hopefully we won’t be in the same position for Halloween 2021,” she says.
Some families are creating elaborate front-yard and driveway set-ups to encourage socially distanced candy pickups. In Mount Vernon, Ill., Kimberly Armes is planning a “Hocus Pocus” movie theme in which she will line the driveway with well-spaced red-and-white popcorn bags for grab-and-go treats. She’ll dress like an usher and a projector will play the film starring Bette Midler.
一些家庭正在创建精心设计的前院和车道设置，以鼓励社交距离较远的糖果提货。在伊利诺伊州的弗农山，金伯利·阿姆斯(Kimberly Arms)正在策划一部名为“Hocus Pocus”的电影主题，她将在车道上排列成一排排排列整齐的红白相间的爆米花袋子，供外卖。她会穿得像个引座员，放映机会放映贝特·米德勒主演的电影。
“That way we can still see the kids in their costumes and they can collect,” she says.
Jennifer Singh, a business analyst in Raleigh, N.C., is hanging cobwebs and spiders across her front yard. She’ll steer trick-or-treaters to pinned candy on a cord—spaced out, strung between two trees and covered with cobweb material. “Kids can come and grab candy without having to come too close,” she says.
The costume parade is going virtual this year, with families organizing video-call costume showoffs. The CDC lists “virtual Halloween costume contest” among its lower-risk activities, along with an at-home spooky-movie night with other people you live with.
Mr. Thompson, who has the ghost candy-delivery system, is starting to worry about how many people will show up on the big night. “I’m going to be making a trip to Costco next week for candy bars and beer,” he says. “I’m going to load up. I don’t want to disappoint.”