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(Joe Shlabotnik/CC)

A test run of a candy chute.

Families are being challenged to think outside the box this year with Halloween and recreate the holiday to be fun and safe.


Since the CDC advises adapted celebrations this year—as most past Halloween celebrations are considered high risk—families have taken it upon themselves to make Halloween a safe holiday without compromising on the fun.

From candy chutes to hazmat suits, nothing is off the table this year.

Annie Linebarger's kids are too young to trick or treat but that hasn't stopped her family from participating in Halloween this year. Linebarger said her neighborhood, Old Enfield in West Austin, is a popular one for trick-or-treaters and her family usually expects hundreds of children.

"I would love to just pass out candy and wear masks and gloves, but I think that you just get too close to too many people," Linebarger said. "I actually don't think very many people will come (this year)."

Linebarger said her husband originally bought a hazmat suit to pass out candy, however, instead she and her husband plan to set up a decorated table on their porch with pre-packaged bags of candy so contact is kept to a minimum.

"I think that this is a good way I can provide something, and whether or not people will come, there'll be candy there," Linebarger said. "It is what it is, so we will just make the best of it."

Many families are following in the Linebarger's footsteps, setting up tables with packaged goods. For even less contact, some families are gluing popsicle sticks to candy and sticking it in their front yard.

Better yet, some families have made their candy part of the decorations.

Laura Nattinger's family intends to wear masks, socially distance and only trick-or-treat at houses that are doing the same in their Brushy Creek neighborhood. In fact, her son even has a mask to match his King George costume from Hamilton.

Additionally, themed masks seem to be a popular choice this year.

Nattinger's family is taking trick-or-treating to the next level with a candy chute placed in one of their upstairs windows. While they are still working out the kinks and plan to decorate the chute, Nattinger said her kids are excited about the new take on Halloween.

"The kids are jazzed about it being something new and different this year," Nattinger said. "All the creativity is fun."

The Nattinger family doing a test run of their candy chute, which they plan to decorate with lights.(Laura Nattinger)

Even if your family decides not to pass out candy, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate from home. Activities like carving pumpkins, watching Halloween movies, decorating the house and scavenger hunts are considered low-risk activities by the CDC.

Linebarger said she doesn't think this Halloween needs to be a disappointment for children and with a little bit of positivity, they might enjoy it just the same.

"I'm disappointed in a lot of things: not being able to go on vacation and travel and spend time with my friends and family, and this is just one of those things," Linebarger said. "The best thing about kids is with their mental capacity, I mean they're happy any way that you can provide that sort of positive attitude and activities for them. I think kids kind of have it easy in some ways—it's the parents that are struggling."


More on reinventing holidays:

Long live Dia de los Muertos: Austinites stick to tradition and put up altars despite COVID (Chris Caselli)

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