Halloween and COVID-19: Clever inventions put new spin on trick-or-treating

Megan Sims
·5 mins read
This Halloween, people have been finding innovative ways to celebrate the holiday while maintaining social distancing. (Photo: Jay & Jaimie of Wicked Makers)
This Halloween, people have been finding innovative ways to celebrate the holiday while maintaining social distancing. (Photo: Jay & Jaimie of Wicked Makers)

Halloween is in the air and like many traditions in the age of COVID-19, things are going to look a little different this year.

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations for celebrating holidays this fall and warned that trick-or-treating was a high-risk activity for coronavirus transmission. Some cities in the U.S. are advising against going door-to-door in costume. Still, there are many ways to keep Halloween festivities alive.

Events like zombie drive-throughs, Halloween hunts for candy and reverse Halloween parades, where residents can either drive or walk through to receive treats, are scheduled to take place in several cities. Some places will host trunk-or-treats, where treats are handed out from the trunks of cars as people drive through designated areas. While considered high risk by the CDC, some towns are establishing additional safety measures, such as requiring participants to wear gloves and masks to pass out candy and creating a no-contact candy delivery system.

Spooky season devotees are also hard at work creating unique ways to ensure there’s still ghoulish fun to be had. Here are ways people planning to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic.

Candy sticking

Wendy Reeves Winter of Denver, Colo., went viral for sharing a clever idea she called “the 2020 version of trick-or-treating” on Facebook. Winter’s “candy sticking” — which involves taping skewers to the backs of candy packages and sticking them into her front yard for kids to grab — is one method to welcome Halloween revelers from a social distance.

“Yes, I still want to hang out on my porch and see everyone’s cute costumes,” she wrote in her post. “But no, I don’t want a bunch of kids ringing my doorbell and fishing in my bowl for candy. So, I’ll be decorating my yard with candy - Willy Wonka style. Kids can come by and get candy from a safe distance and I’ll get to smile and wave from my front porch. Win. Win.”

Candy zipline

Matt Thompson, of Garden City, Mich., devised a candy zipline to welcome trick-or-treaters without getting too close. In a Facebook video, Thompson demonstrates how his contraption works, as a ghost delivers candy in a wooden box to his neighbors waiting at the front of his lawn.

“I spent a weekend stringing a cable from my porch to a post I set near the sidewalk 30 feet away,” Thompson tells Yahoo Life. “I then built a beer caddy and attached pulleys for the caddy roll on. I used a fishing reel attached to a drill to retrieve the caddy.”

The carpenter has gotten positive feedback for his creation, including from his three adult children, as well as interest from people looking to replicate the device at their own homes. He’s since shared an instructional video on his YouTube channel on how to recreate the zipline.

“I think we all need to have some normalcy right about now, including our kids,” he says. “We’ve found safer ways to do things in our lives, so why not for trick-or-treating too? It’s my hope that my idea will inspire even better ideas.”

Candy slides

Chris Minor created this candy slide to help provide a safe trick-or-treating experience. (Photo: Chris Minor)
Chris Minor created this candy slide to help provide a safe trick-or-treating experience. (Photo: Chris Minor)

Chris Minor of Ashland, Va., who is an engineer, took to Facebook on Sept. 27 to share pictures of his candy slide that he fashioned out of PVC pipe, commonly found in hardware stores around the country.

“The candy shoots out of the end of the slide into the kid’s baggies. No-contact, no-touching trick or treating,” he captioned the post, which has since gone viral.

Minor tells Yahoo Lifestyle that his love for Halloween inspired his invention.

“With coronavirus and everything going on nowadays, I was looking for a way to add some excitement to Halloween this year,” he says. “There are gonna be a lot of kids, parents who are going to be uncomfortable with them going trick-or-treating...I wanted to just kind of find a way to create a socially distant trick-or-treating experience.”

Minor’s post has been shared more than 300,000 times and the interest in his slide led him to create a manual, which he’s made available on Etsy, for people who want to build one themselves.

“I’ve had a lot of fantastic people out there who have messaged me and said that they are inspired and that they love it and that they can’t wait to build one themselves ... Coronavirus is bringing out the engineer in all of us,” he says.

Jay Grenier and Jaimie Nakae, known for their YouTube channel Wicked Makers, also got rave reviews for their spooky candy slide. The couple, who lives in Austin, Texas, began working on their contraption in mid-August after a fan left a comment under one of their Halloween videos requesting they use their DIY talents to come up with a way to encourage social distancing for trick-or-treaters.

“For us and for a lot of other people, we look forward to Halloween all year long, it’s not just because of the candy, but because it’s such a creative outlet,” Grenier tells Yahoo Life. “We get to build all these props and have fun decorating. It’s obviously going to be different this year, but that doesn’t mean we have to not do anything. We really wanted to find a way where we can responsibly celebrate and still kind of be creative and have fun.”

Jay and Jaimie stand near the candy slide they created for Halloween amid the pandemic. (Photo: Jay & Jaimie)
Jay and Jaimie stand near the candy slide they created for Halloween amid the pandemic. (Photo: Jay & Jaimie)

The couple says their 3-year-old son, as well as other children in their neighborhood, are enjoying the slide even before Halloween.

“Kids look forward to it and adults look forward to it...it’s all about friends and having fun. And COVID is such a bummer,” Nakae says. “We’ve been in such a rough time right now and so it’s great to not have Halloween canceled, and have a reason to celebrate.”

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