I’m Happy We’re All Attempting To Stay Safe But My Kids Missing Halloween is Frustrating

Oct 27, 2020

Recently my eight-year-old and six-year-old found out that they wouldn’t be allowed to wear costumes to school for Halloween this year.

They dissolved into tears, frustrated by one more disappointment this year.

“It’s not fair, why can’t we?” they chorused.

Vanessa Magic and her family love Halloween. So they're having it! But it's a bit different this year. Read about her plans here.

I didn’t know how to answer their question, but I wrapped them up in an embrace and promised that we’d find a way to celebrate Halloween this year. I let them know that there’d be candy, costumes and a few extra special treats, but we’d be making new traditions this year. Still, we could cling to a few of our yearly traditions  — like carving pumpkins, baking Halloween goodies and decorating our house with cheap dollar store finds.

Hot spots like Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York Region are being advised not to participate in door-to-door trick-or-treating this year, while areas with lower COVID-19 rates are being provided with guidelines for safe trick-or-treating. Our family lives outside of the hotspots, but we’re still unsure about going door to door this year. While it might not be directly unadvisable, I don’t feel confident that everyone will be following the government recommendations for handing out candy.

"While these rules are meant to keep kids safe, ... I know my own kids will be disappointed that their face paint won’t be visible, and their neighbours friendly faces will have to be covered."

Our school board hasn’t given any specific directives regarding Hallowen this year, but each individual school is making their own decisions on whether costumes are allowed. My kids’ particular school is opting out of costumes, which has been a major bummer for my dress up-obsessed children.

Kids have been dealing with COVID-related disappointment since March, whether it was cancelled vacation plans, missing out on seeing family and friends, disappointing birthdays and the list goes on. For my kids in particular, the interruption of their Halloween plans has hit them the hardest. What was once a fun gathering of community, filled with neighbourliness and fun, is now a sterile and less inviting celebration that just doesn’t feel the same.

From spooky spaghetti to painted pumpkins, there are plenty of indoor Halloween activities to go around. Check 'em out here

One of the health recommendations is that all neighbours handing out candy wear a face covering, and that trick-or-treaters also wear face coverings (not costume masks), it’s also recommended that children and adults not wear costume masks over their face covering, as that can impede breathing. While these rules are meant to keep kids safe, and they are realistic and important to follow, I know my own kids will be disappointed that their face paint won’t be visible, and their neighbours friendly faces will have to be covered.

Meanwhile, a few communities are coming up with different ideas, like a Halloween parade that is socially distant, or drive-by trick-or-treating at family and friends' houses that they trust. Our family is hoping to have a fun party on Saturday with our own household, filled with Halloween activities like pumpkin carving and some carnival-themed games. We’re trying to amp up the fun to minimize the disappointment over lost traditions. We’re hopeful that next year things will be different, and we’re reminding our kids that following the rules is a good way to ensure that we can all go back to our regular trick-or-treat routines in 2021.

For now, I’m letting my kids express their disappointment in Halloween 2020. They have every right to be frustrated, but I’ll do my best to give them a good time in the warmth and safety of our home.

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Article Author Brianna Bell
Brianna Bell

Brianna Bell is a writer and journalist based in Guelph, Ontario. She has written for many online and print publications, including Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, and The Globe and Mail.

Brianna's budget-savvy ways have attracted media attention and led to newspaper coverage in The Globe and Mail and The Guelph Mercury.

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