Celebrating Halloween Safely: Dementia and COVID-19 Considerations

Halloween comes with a new safety risk this year: COVID-19. Read these tips for modifying celebrations, along with information on dementia and Halloween safety.

close up of carved halloween pumpkins on table

For many families, Halloween is an intergenerational evening of fun and festivities. Grandparents might camp out on the porch to hand out candy, or tag along as costumed grandchildren trick-or-treat through the neighborhood. It’s an increasingly popular holiday. In fact, when it comes to holiday spending, Halloween is second only to Christmas. Last year, Americans spent $8.8 billion on everything from costumes to candy.

When a loved one has dementia, however, it can be difficult to help them participate without frightening them or triggering anxiety. This article, Dementia Safety Tips for Celebrating Halloween, can help you find ways to do just that.

This year’s Halloween presents a new challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. The highly infectious virus has people of all ages skipping or modifying favorite pastimes to stay safe. Some cities and towns are canceling Halloween celebrations completely.

Because the virus is especially dangerous for seniors, families need to be especially cautious. Many have been physical distancing and minimizing public outings, including events with family members, since the spring. Fortunately, with a little creativity, you can still enjoy a spooky Halloween with those who mean the most to you.

Stay Safe from COVID-19 on Halloween

  • Adapt favorite celebrations: If your Halloween evening usually includes a house full of people celebrating, think about how else you can hold the event. Can you have the party outdoors where physical distancing is easier? Maybe under a large tent with heaters? Compare the size of your yard with the number of guests you’d like to invite. Is it possible for everyone to stay at least six feet apart? When all partygoers maintain physical distancing and wear face coverings, an outdoor Halloween night might be the solution. Provide lots of bleach wipes and hand sanitizer.
  • Physically distance your trick-or-treating: If your community canceled trick-or-treating or if you aren’t comfortable participating, create your own celebration. Family elders and senior friends can enjoy the fun from a distance. Encourage them to leave individual treat bags outside in a spot where your kids can easily find them, and to watch from the porch or patio. Make sure everyone wears masks. Add to the fun by asking seniors to decorate their front yard in a spooky manner.
  • Party via video chat: While nothing beats an in-person gathering, celebrating by video can be a lot of fun for multiple generations of the family. You could have the kids make special treats for senior loved ones and drop them off earlier in the day. Then have everyone wear costumes and join the party via Zoom or Skype, and play Halloween music.

We hope this helps you find a safe, fun way to spend Halloween despite the threat of COVID-19!

The Wesley Community’s Response to COVID-19

The Wesley Community continues to take a proactive response to the coronavirus. You can learn more here. We are working hard to keep our community updated through various channels, from a resident and staff hotline to text message updates.