Families wrestle with how to celebrate Halloween during a pandemic

OSWEGO, N.Y. — One of America’s favorite holidays is on the rocks this year as the COVID-19 pandemic shows little sign of slowing in the coming days.

Across the country, Halloween is going to look very different for  families.  The virus is forcing people to change their holiday traditions as parents try to keep their children safe. 

“We’ve been having a few conversations to try to think about ‘what does Halloween look like for our kids and for our family this year?’” said Travis Durfee, father of six. “Not once have we talked about  randomly showing up to people’s houses.”

Trick-or-treating, though an age-old tradition, seems like the last thing families will be doing to celebrate this year. 

“If strangers show up at my house knocking,” Durfee said. “It would be terrifying this year.”

With most people trying to limit their in-person interaction, many are being forced to re-plan. Kristen Bacon has two kids and said she has not made any plans for this year. 

“I have considered having the kids dress up and just go to places like my mom’s, our close family friend’s,” Bacon said. “But I honestly haven’t decided on that yet.”

As parents try to navigate how to celebrate this year during a global pandemic, neighborhood streets will likely remain empty on Halloween night as families opt to stay in. Last year due to heavy rain, Bacon and her family chose not to go out.

“We just had a little party,” Bacon said. “My niece and my nephew, my two kids at home and we watched Charlie Brown’s Halloween, we made rice krispy treats.”

Gatherings between close family and friends may be the new norm for people trying to avoid the crowds this year. 

Durfee said his family had thought about hosting something at their house, but after the number of people who would attend came into the conversation, the idea was immediately shot down. 

“Having six people in our party and any of our friends who brought their children over,” he said. “Suddenly, we would have more than ten people gathered in one space.”

Any family with children has the daunting task ahead of them as they try to find the best way to celebrate Halloween and keep each other safe from COVID-19.