It will soon be Halloween and kids are looking forward to one of their favorite holidays. However, again this year many children will be missing Halloween due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many states are reporting an increase in Coronavirus cases due to the Delta variant. While over the past two weeks there has been a decrease in cases and hospitalizations, we still don’t have the Coronavirus under control especially for children. Therefore, it is still not medically safe for children to be trick or treating this year in most areas of our Country. In addition to missing Halloween, many children have missed their birthdays, playing with their friends, summer vacations. One year was bad enough, but now we are going on missing birthdays and holidays for two years. Yes we have vaccinations that help adults and children over 12 years old, but children under 12 do not have a vaccine that has been approved for their age group yet. Therefore, they remain at risk of catching the coronavirus. As a result, many children are feeling depressed and anxious and tired of waiting for vaccinations.
With everything these children have been through, hopefully we can find some safe, fun ways for them to celebrate Halloween. One possible option is, as a family, you can let your children pick out their costumes and since Halloween is on a Sunday this year, let them wear these costumes all weekend. Additionally as a family you can pick out scary movies to watch all weekend. You can also look online for Halloween treats they can make and have for the weekend. You can also carve pumpkins and prepare a special Halloween dinner. If you google Halloween recipes, you will find a number of dishes that have a Halloween theme. This may not be the same as trick or treating but it can be a fun time for the entire family.
Another possibility is to arrange trick or treating with your family and family friends. You can arrange that with family members and friends that are taking appropriate precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing and the parents are fully vaccinated so they are not likely to have the Coronavirus and you can stop by their homes and trick or treat. This way your children do get to trick or treat and you are trying to do it in the safest manner possible. Obviously, your children would need to wear masks and being feeling well. If they had a runny nose or a slight fever, you would need to keep them home. However, this occurs every year, if at the last minute a child is looking or acting ill, you need to keep them home. Obviously, your family and friends would be wearing masks when you went to their houses and if they were feeling sick they would let you know before you left your house so you would know to skip their house.
Another option would be if your city or church has a community center. You can have people who volunteer to pass out candy on Halloween at the hall. All the volunteers would wear masks and their temperatures would have been taken and they would be fully vaccinated to keep it as safe as possible. You could schedule 10 children at a time to go through the hall and trick or treat. Again, the children will need to be wearing masks and have had their temperatures taken. This way you are making it safe for the children and volunteers. You would need a schedule so you would not have too many children in the same space at the same time. Yes this will take a fair amount of work. However, it will allow children to celebrate a holiday specifically for children and they have a chance to act like children and forget the pandemic for a night. This would be a tremendous gift to children who have missed a lot of their childhood due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Some people may be tempted to say just forget the pandemic and let the children celebrate Halloween like they usually do. However, the research does document that children can and are contracting the Coronavirus. The research also shows that some children do need to be hospitalized due to the Coronavirus. The research shows that 1out of 3 children who are hospitalized will end up in the ICU. Finally the research numbers show children will and have died due to the Coronavirus. However, an additional complication during this time of the year is it is flu season too. It is possible for a child to have the flu and Coronavirus at the same time. Therefore, we cannot treat this like any other year and we need to brainstorm how children can celebrate Halloween safety.
Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 24 years experience treating children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or his private practice visit his website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple.