Trick or Treating Through the Pandemic

Halloween’s official greeters. Will trick or treaters come this year?

This October, parents in New York’s Capital Region, in and around Albany, are making decisions about how they are going to cope with Halloween festivities amidst a global pandemic. Given the social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC, finding new ways to enjoy the holiday has been a big topic of discussion.

Kourtnie Dorrough, mother of three boys ages 11, 7, and 2, shared her plans for taking her kids trick or treating.  Dorrough explained that she would have the boys wear masks while they are going door to door and would be using hand sanitizer in between their stops, incorporating sanitary and safety precautions to ensure a safe, but fun time!  Dorrough said she is not concerned about whether other parents follow the CDC guidelines when they take their kids out for Halloween. 

The Dorrough’s pose for Fall

“I have good faith that other parents are equally as concerned with their children’s health and hoping that they take it seriously as well.”

However, one of Dourrogh’s close friends, who also has young children, says that her the kids will dress up and make Halloween crafts and decorate Halloween cookies and end the night with a Halloween movie and homemade goodie bags, instead of going door to door. 

Trick or treating door to door is not the only Halloween tradition at risk due to COVID-19. Dorrough express some concern about how the Halloween celebration has been changed in the elementary school her son Carter attends. Shenendehowa will skip the costumes and parade, and instead, encourage the kids to wear orange, black, and purple to school. They will also have parents take pictures of their children in their costumes and email them to their teachers so they can create a slideshow for the class to watch together. 

Jan Putorti, of Altamont, made alternative plans for trick or treating for her two children, Giuliana (13) and Anthony (10). “We have already celebrated Halloween this year…we chose to have a small gathering which included a few close friends, (less than 15 people). We dressed up, played Halloween themed games and created fun activities for the kids to get candy.”

Shenendehowa is not the only school that changed its Halloween plans! Altamont Elementary School, where Jan Putorti’s son Anthony attends, also cancelled their traditional Halloween costume parade. But the children children at the school will still be allowed to wear their costumes to class. Jan said she fully supports the school’s decision to cancel the parade, which has always drawn large crowds.

One little Dorrough ready for Trick or Treating!

As for actually allowing her children to trick or treat door-to-door on the 31st, even though her children have already celebrated? Putorti expressed some fear that parents may not take the proper precautions, but that if they decide to participate in any other Halloween, they will be outside, wear masks and remain socially distant.

Jan noted, “We typically go trick or treating in our small, beautiful, and safe village. It’s incredible and truly like a scene out of a movie! If we decide to visit a few houses it will be in Altamont, at homes of families we know.”

While it’s true that the lack of gatherings due to the high risk of the pandemic has left kids with fewer options if people are not willing to hand out candy and parents wondering if their kids are missing out on Halloween this year.

A house beckons Trick or Treaters in Albany

Jan Purtoti remains optimistic, “It is just different. We are teaching our kids to be flexible.”

And she offers, “My advice to parents this year would be to stay safe; maintain social distance when getting together with others; partake in outdoor activities; create some ‘new’ Halloween traditions in place of traditional trick or treating; and wear masks! I’m a firm believer that our children will follow suit. And if we create a fun experience they will have wonderful memories of 2020!”



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