San Diego woman gets creative with contactless trick-or-treat plans

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SAN DIEGO — With a little more than a month before Halloween, costume super-stores are popping up around the country. So far sales are down – perhaps an indication that people will skip Halloween this year amid the pandemic.

A San Diego woman in the costume business says not so fast.

“The plan is, this year, to set the cemetery and put candy throughout the cemetery,” Maria Neuland said. “We’re going to put them in cellophane bags and sprinkle them throughout the graveyard.”

Neuland is owner of Seeing Red, Inc. Costumes are her livelihood so she’s doing everything she can to save the time-honored tradition by coming up with ideas for a no-contact Halloween.

“It’s been a long, hard year for everyone and we want to make sure kids have an opportunity to celebrate Halloween — and they can!” she said. “And we do it by following all the guidelines that we do when we go to grocery store. Its as simple as that.”

This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning against traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, saying it a high-risk activity for the spread of COVID-19. Neuland said there are ways to modify your plans.

“You lay out your yard, put signage up so they know that you’ve taken time to prepare your area for trick-or-treaters. It can be as simple as putting out a table and spreading out the candy at the table so people aren’t touching and intermingling,” she said.

She said more elaborate plans can include creating a graveyard or porch filled with pumpkins. 

“Take the candy and interlace it through the display and that’s something you don’t even need to be there for. You could basically set the candy, come back, check it, set more candy and have very little interaction with trick-or-treaters but still provide the Halloween feel.”

There are many different ways to go about it. An Ohio dad came up with a chute to drop the candy to trick-or-treaters.

“The main thing is, you’re making a pledge to everyone that you’re going to prepare this candy spread out in your yard and that you’re marking distance,” Neuland said. “So if multiple trick-or-treaters come, they know where to stand and there’s some sort of signage to tell them where to go throughout the yard.”

If you do plan on trick-or-treating, Neuland recommends checking your neighborhood’s risk level using a website like this

“If we can help get everybody on the same page and start to get a little a little buzz behind how we can trick-or-treat and help educate everybody, it’s not as hard as it seems,” Neuland said. “It’s really quite easy if we all stand together. We can do this together.”

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