PORTLAND, Ore. — Halloween is one the favorite holidays of the year for kids everywhere. The costumes, the candy and get-togethers with friends, but the pandemic has changed everything.
Seven-year-old Max Hanson's favorite thing about Halloween and trick-or-treating is candy, hanging out with friends and staying up late.
Oct. 31 falls on a Saturday this year and it would've been the perfect holiday without school the next day. Then the pandemic happened in early March and nothing about 2020 has been perfect.
"It just ruins everything," Hanson said.
Hanson, like a lot of kids, wants to go trick-or-treating this year, but the CDC recommends against doing that to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Oregon Health Authority is following the CDC and suggests families stay home this year and find safer activities.
The OHA said trick-or-treating is a high-risk activity "because these are high-risk activities for crowding among people outside your household."
Hanson says there are ways to have lower risk options for trick-or-treating. Don't let his young age overshadow his drive to make his voice heard, "I wrote the letter because I want to do trick-or-treating and I also wanted there to be more Halloween decorations."
He wrote a letter and sent it to the Oregonian's "Letters to the Editor" and then to the Mayor, multiple media outlets and finally the OHA.
It says in part, "My name is Max and I am 7 years old and I am in the first grade. I think that there is a way to do socially distanced trick-or-treating. My Grandma lives in Denver and they are having socially distanced trick-or-treating. It makes me angry that my state didn’t even think about it."
He says he has an idea for trick-or-treating safely, "I think that they should put tables up on their driveway or they don't even have to have tables. They can just put candy on the ground and just leave it there and back up."
Dr. Corey Fish, a pediatrician and Chief Medical Officer for Brave Care clinic says trick-or-treating is a recipe for disaster when it comes to large groups gathering and kids putting their hands in one bowl and then another.
"The more we learn about coronavirus, the name of the game really is creativity. When it comes to things like this, how creative as a family or as a group of families can you be?" Fish says.
Max's mom Sheila says they are thinking of ways to be creative and make Halloween fun and safe for everyone.
"We're talking a lot about trying to do things differently," Sheila said, "We're talking about with neighbors doing an egg hunt or something, we're also talking about trying to figure out if we can organize our neighborhood to follow Max's idea to put candy out in small piles on the driveway, so that kids could come up once the person steps back and take their pile and move on."
Sheila says Max understands the gravity of the situation and says he's always thinking about the big picture and how his actions affect others, "He's really interested in fairness and those kinds of things."
Max says the pandemic has already made it hard on him, writing, "like not going to school, and not seeing my friends, and wearing a mask. I think that this would be good for other kids too. This would make kids feel happy again. If we don’t do trick-or-treating, I think that this year we really need Halloween decorations. I’ve noticed that people aren’t decorating as much. It’s like they have forgotten about Halloween. At least a few ghosts in the trees would make me smile.
Max ended his letter with these three words, "Please remember Halloween."
"The holidays are a big part of the year and then if you don't have holidays, the year would be pretty boring," Max said.