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Halloween looks different this year, but you can celebrate in safe, socially distant ways

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You know that scene from Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas?" The one where the Grinch hauls all the presents in Whoville up Mount Crumpet with the intention of throwing them off the edge of the summit?

He was trying to stop Christmas from coming. 

But you know what happened. 

"He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming! It came! Somehow or other it came just the same!" 

The point here is that COVID-19 is our Grinch. And while it seems like the pandemic could put a damper on the upcoming holiday season, there's no reason we can't change the way we've traditionally celebrated. 

First up, Halloween, which happens to be Kelly Miller's favorite. 

"I love seeing the kids. I love being out there when they come. I love seeing their expressions," the Mount Pleasant mom said. "I’m very passionate about it."

But she knew COVID-19 would make traditional trick-or-treating more complicated. So she constructed a candy chute that will allow her to accommodate kids in costume in her Ivy Hall neighborhood from a safe social distance. 

zombie close up.jpg

Kelly Miller puts together a zombie outside her home in Mount Pleasant on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Miller developed her love for Halloween as a kid growing up near a neighbor who would use lots of decorations on their house and decided to carry on the tradition for her son and other kids in the neighborhood. Lauren Petracca/Staff

There are other ways to accomplish this, she said. 

"Some people are going to do a parade in their neighborhood. Some are doing masks and hand sanitizer. A lot of people are doing individual bags and leaving them out of the kids," she said. 

Miller said some of the people she's met in online Halloween groups have also suggested using Easter eggs to distribute candy. One person even devised a way to hand out candy using a pulley system across the yard. 

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"They’re doing whatever they can to make this happen," Miller said. "It just took a lot of brainstorming."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists traditional trick-or-treating — kids going door to door while grownups hand out candy from a common basket — in the higher-risk category for Halloween celebrations. The same goes for crowded indoor costume parties where adults typically drink alcohol (which the CDC points out "can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.")

But, like Miller said, there are ways to celebrate if you're willing to get a little creative. 

Here are some ideas for celebrating the holiday in low-risk ways, all of which have been endorsed by the CDC: 

  • Carve pumpkins with your family and display them on your steps or front porch. 
  • Host a virtual Halloween costume contest.
  • Plan a family Halloween movie night. 
  • Decorate your house. 

And in the moderate-risk category: 

  • Participate in "one-way trick-or-treating," which requires grownups to prepare individually wrapped goodie bags that are lined up for families and children to "grab and go" while continuing to social distance.

  • Visit an open-air, one-way haunted forest where social distancing is enforced. 

  • Host an outdoor movie night with family friends. Just make sure everyone is spread at least 6 feet apart. 
  • Visit a pumpkin patch wearing a mask and use hand sanitizer. 

Remember, if the Whos down in Whoville can find a reason to sing on Christmas morning without any presents under their trees, we can come up with unusual ways to adjust our Halloween celebrations, too. 

For more ideas, visit www.cdc.gov

Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.

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