Former Minister for Health Simon Harris addressed the issue of Halloween in an IGTV video this week
As we near the 31st of October, it's likely that parents are becoming more and more anxious about what to tell their little ghosts and ghouls this Halloween. This has been a year like no other, and we've had to find ways to band together and to try and feel normal while staying apart. Unfortunately, that means that some traditions and events we were looking forward to will have to be changed to keep us all safe - and Halloween night looks to be no different.
Trick or treating is a brilliant way to spend Halloween night when you've got young children - dressing up and getting sweets for your trouble, plus getting to bond with your family, friends and neighbours is one of the best parts of the season. This year, we've got to think differently about how to celebrate Halloween, while still keeping the spooky magic alive for the little ones in our community.
Former Minister for Health Simon Harris posted an IGTV video this week addressing the children of Ireland as we near Halloween, letting them know how proud we all are of them for adapting to Covid-19.
"It's going to be different this year... but that doesn't mean you can't have a good time. It doesn't mean you can't dress up in a scary costume, it doesn't mean mum or dad can't get treats in for the house or that you can't watch a spooky movie or play some games. But let's make sure that the only fright we give each other this year is from the frightening Halloween games, and not the fright of people getting sick.
We need you, the children of Ireland, to have and enjoy Halloween, but it'll be a different Halloween. But I know you'll understand because you've been better than even many of the adults throughout this pandemic. I'm so proud of you, and I know your parents are too".
With that in mind, we've come up with five alternative ways to celebrate Halloween this year, so that you can still have all the spooky fun you've been looking forward to, while keeping everyone safe.
Scary movie marathon (with treats of course)
Make a list of all the best scary movies for your family's age group and get ready for a marathon watch on Halloween night. Spooky treats are a must - popcorn, sweets, chocolate are all failsafe options, but why not make a day of it, and make your own from scratch? Halloween biscuits and spooky mocktails are great ways to make the night feel special.
Homemade costume competition
This is a great one if you've got lots of people in the house, and some crafty materials to get started. Why not challenge the kids to make their own costume this year? A quick trip to Mr. Price or Dealz will get all the bits you need, and a day of cutting, glueing and (supervised) sewing will tire them out before bed time. When the costumes are ready, it's time to show them off. Involve the extended family too via Zoom and get everyone to vote on who made the best scary costume.
An age-old Halloween pastime that's a lovely way to spend time with small children. Many supermarkets will sell pumpkins and carving sets, so you've got everything you need to get started. Simply scoop out the filling, draw on your design and carefully get cutting. The best ones can be displayed with a candle on Halloween night.
Reverse trick or treating
If you've got lots of kids on your street that are missing out on trick or treating this year, why not find a way to deliver sweets without knocking on doors? Ring up your neighbours and organise a reverse trick-or-treat on Halloween night, where you can drop some sweets on the kids' doorsteps throughout the evening. It will be a delight for kids in the area, and can be easily socially distanced when just a few adults take part.
Ghost stories around the bonfire
If you've got a fire pit or barbeque in your back garden, don't store it away till next summer just yet. It will make the perfect centrepiece for a spooky night of ghost stories this year. Gather round with blankets and pillows, turn off all the lights, and get your best scary voice ready. If it gets too chilly, YouTube and Netflix have open fire effects available to stream, so you can enjoy it all in the sitting room too.
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