PSA: Staking Candy Into the Ground is Not the Answer to Socially Distant Trick-or-Treating

Listen, people, we all want to figure out a safer solution to Halloween 2020, but this isn't it.

Illuminated landscape light fixtures in the shape of pumpkins used for Halloween decoration at night
Photo: Getty Images

Parents and kids alike are overjoyed that Halloween is not canceled for 2020, though trick-or-treating is going to look mighty different this year. With the coronavirus pandemic still in full swing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out its 2020 Halloween guidelines—complete with activities to help families celebrate that are low, moderate, and higher risk. Since they consider traditional trick-or-treating to be on the high-risk side, parents are getting, well, let's say, creative with their solutions.

First came the idea to put out bowls of candy for kids to simply take a piece on the go, but you run the risk of children's hands on everything—and each other. For a safer option, the CDC recommends "one-way trick-or-treating" where families can set up tables and place individually wrapped goodie bags for trick-or-treaters to take from a distance.

But, of course, there are those inventive individuals out there who took Halloween 2020 to the next level. The candy slider is an awesome option for giving out candy while still keeping a distance from others. The only thing is it requires some time to assemble—and just a few crafty bones in your body.

A good-in-theory idea that's actually not so great in reality? "Candy sticking," aka candy staked all over the lawn on sticks. It looks cute, promotes social distancing (sort of...), and allows kids to simply grab and go. The catch? It's also sort of a dangerous idea.

Picture this: It's Halloween night, dark early, and dressed up kids are rushing to grab their prizes. What's that? Little Susie just tripped over her princess gown—and, ahem, a stick poking out of the neighbor's lawn—and smashed her face into the ground? Super.

Another scenario playing in my head: My 2-year-old running through the candy graveyard, grabbing one, tossing the candy, and running around with a stake in his hand because he's super into "tools."

Wendy Reeves Winter, the Colorado-based mom who originally posted about candy sticking on Facebook, says, "I still want to hang out on my porch and see everyone’s cute costumes. 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."

She did note, however, that you can switch up the stick you're using—and offers up popsicle sticks as an option—you know, in case you're "worried about impaling children." Listen, if the words "impaling children" cross your lips while talking about a Halloween activity, it's probably best to avoid it.

And listen, I'm no Halloween Grinch here. My son is finally old enough to understand trick-or-treating (though he's currently refusing to wear all three of the costume options I got him) and is obsessed with pumpkins, werewolves, and, of course, candy. But we're opting to go with the candy-on-a-table option at our house this year—complete with hand sanitizer on said table—and will only trick or treat at houses my husband and I deem "safe." That way we can still enjoy the day, get a look at the cute kids all dressed up, and know that we're doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

At the end of the day, everyone has to do what's right for their family—whether that's masking up the crew and hunting for participating "safe" houses or finding ways to celebrate Halloween virtually. But can we all just agree to skip candy sticking this year? Thanks.

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