This year, our game days, family gatherings and holidays will be a little different. And that’s hard. But there are lots of ways to be a little more together, even when we’re apart.
New Takes on Old Traditions
Take the cheering online | Even though you can’t get together in person, a virtual watch party is a great way to catch the big game. Put on your team gear and yell at the screen with your friends via video chat. Recap the team’s performance on commercial breaks. Maybe even try a team trivia contest at half time.
Surprise delivery | Missing your game day tailgate? Order takeout and have it delivered to a friend who will also be enjoying the game from home. Perhaps this act of kindness will bring the positive vibes your team needs. I mean, it can’t hurt, right?
Snack rivalries | Challenge your friends to make a game day snack or beverage that showcases your favorite college or pro team’s colors or mascot. Blue corn chips and guacamole, anyone? Show-off your creations on video chat and add some friendly competition with an online poll to award a snack champion.
B-I-N-G-O | Before the game starts, create and email custom bingo boards to all your friends and family watching at home. Make each square something that could happen during the game. Think: Touchdown dance. Penalty kick. Coach yelling at a ref. Failed extra point. Etc. Bingo winner earns bragging rights until the next game.
Masks for the win | We can’t pass up the opportunity to encourage masking up whenever you leave home. Face coverings with team logos are all the rage this season. Showcase your team spirit while showing your community you care about keeping them healthy.
If you do choose to have friends or family over to your home to watch the game, there is a risk of spreading COVID-19. Wear masks throughout the game, and limit the number of guests based on the number allowed in your county per the Safe Start plan. Open windows to increase ventilation - bundle up as if you were at the stadium! Make sure you have room for guests to stay spread out and don’t share food or drinks. For more tips, see the safer gatherings checklist.
Typical trick-or-treating and costume parties will need to change a bit this year to help keep everyone safe. No matter how you choose to celebrate, remember the basics: limit close contact with others outside your household, limit common touch points, and wash or sanitize hands.
Ideas for safer (but still spooky) good timeImage
- Hold a candy hunt (think Easter egg hunt, but more costumes) at home with your immediate family, or in a park or outside with friends and neighbors. Household teams can take turns if you’re including friends and neighbors.
- Carve or decorate pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with friends.
- If you’re feeling crafty, decorate different doors at home and have your kids knock on each one to trick-or-treat.
- Love to dress up and decorate? Hold a virtual costume party so everyone can show off their creations and carved pumpkins. Consider making it a challenge to create a costume from items you already have at home.
- Exchange candy with families you know. Do a drop-off delivery at their doorstep for a Halloween surprise for the kids.
- Organize a neighborhood costume parade with physical distancing. Use jack-o-lanterns to light the way.
For older youth and adults
- Keep any gatherings small, outdoors when possible or in larger well-ventilated spaces where you can stay 6 feet apart.
- Incorporate a mask that covers your nose and mouth snugly into your costume. Better yet, decorate your mask to incorporate into your costume!
- Organize a virtual costume party or pumpkin carving contest, make a spooky playlist to share, or gather for an online watch party of your favorite scary movie.
- Host a walking or bicycle party where guests parade down the street in costume, staying at least six feet apart.
- Spread happiness by dropping a Halloween goodie bag or pumpkin on the doorsteps of friends and loved ones.
- Cook up a Halloween-themed meal or treats with people in your household.
If you plan to trick-or-treat
The trick with trick-or-treating right now is that visiting your neighbors’ doorsteps, or even coming together for trunk-or-treating, brings people in close contact with one another. Offering candy in a large bowl that kids all reach into also has risks. Traditional trick-or-treating is discouraged. But if you’re still thinking of participating in trick or treating, even in a limited fashion, keep these guidelines in mind:
- Wear a mask. Even if your child’s costume covers their face, it won’t protect them and others unless it fully covers their nose and mouth. And remember, children under 2 should not wear masks, but if older than 2, incorporate a protective mask into your child’s costume.
- Wear a mask if passing out candy, and make sure children don't crowd. Hand out candy individually rather than inviting kids to reach into a communal bowl. Or put candy on a small table outside where kids can easily grab a piece without touching others.
- Teach your children to ask for candy to be put in their container/bag, rather than grabbing from a common container.
- Make sure you and your children stay six feet away from others at all times.
- Keep hands clean. Wash hands before you head out and when you get home. And bring hand sanitizer with you so kids can clean their hands between house visits.
- Set aside any candy that comes from outside your household for 24 hours before allowing children to handle it. The chance of COVID infection from packaged food is low, but it is not without risk. Purchase a small amount of candy in advance so that you can have candy on-hand that your kids can eat immediately on Halloween.
If you do choose to get together with others for Halloween, you may be putting yourself at risk for COVID-19 infection. Help lessen the risk by keeping the group small, wearing masks and making sure you have room for guests to stay spread out. If inside, open windows to increase ventilation. See our safer gatherings checklist to learn more.
While the traditional feast, end-of-year parties, and crowded tables are on hold, there are still fulfilling ways to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
Giving thanks | In a year filled with challenges, it can feel good to pause and consider the things for which we are grateful, whether that be a person, pet, place or thing. Highlight these bright spots by writing them down or sending notes, texts or emails to people in your life to express why you are grateful for them.
On-screen get togethers | Sure, it won’t be quite the same, but scheduling a few virtual holiday gatherings can take the sting out of being separated. Getting together online to cook, open gifts, decorate desserts, do a craft project, listen to a playlist, or read stories can create a bit of the togetherness we crave. Consider time zones when scheduling, and make sure that any people who are not tech-savvy get help beforehand so they can be included.
Secret gift exchange | Assign each family or friend a name, and ask them mail or do a no-contact delivery of a small gift they make or buy to their assigned person. Open gifts on a group video chat and try to guess who gave what to whom.
Play dress-up | If you have a willing crowd, create a theme for your virtual party. Themed masks, silly hats or ugly sweaters can give everyone something to laugh and talk about.
Remote potluck | Rather than getting together, you can assign dishes to friends and family and deliver them to one another’s homes. Or deliver just the ingredients for a dish or meal. Then, log in to your favorite video chat app to cook or dig in.
Learn a recipe together | Haven’t you always thought Nonna deserves a cooking show? Pick a favorite family recipe, share an ingredient list ahead of time with friends or family, and then get together virtually to try cooking or baking. Good times are guaranteed, whether you end up with delicious dumplings or poorly decorated cookies.
Game night | If you thrive on competition, make your virtual gatherings about more than just conversation. Trivia, charades, and even board games, can all work great online. Or try out a virtual bake-off, talent show or a scavenger hunt where teams race to find common and not-so-common items around their house. This is also a fun one to set up for kids so they can connect virtually with friends.
If you choose to celebrate with friends or family (outside your household) in person, you are increasing the risk of COVID-19 infection. Help to lessen the risk by keeping the group small, gathering outside if possible, and wear masks. Make sure you have room for guests to spread out and avoid sharing food and beverages. Follow our safer gatherings checklist.