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CARROLL: Trick or treat? Parents need to figure it out so kids can be kids
David Carroll
David Carroll is a news anchor for WRCB in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The year from hell would seem to be a perfect fit for Halloween, but many people are asking: Can we trick-or-treat safely this year?

Parents wonder if the candy you’re handing over is safe. Those of us who hand out the candy aren’t thrilled about little munchkins entering our air space.

The Centers for Disease Control has just flat-out said Halloween is a bad idea this year: “Don’t do it!” Unless of course, the CDC changes its mind, which it has been known to do.

As for me, I’d like to find a safe way to make it happen. I mean, look at what kids have already missed out on this year. Youth summer sports: wiped out. Public swimming pools: closed. School play time is by necessity, physically distanced. My goodness, if my fellow fourth grade boys hadn’t wallowed around on the playground imitating our favorite wrestlers, all that excess energy would have spilled over into the classroom, and nobody wanted that.

Yes, you’re only young once, and I’d hate to see Halloween added to the list of fun events of which our children have been robbed. My dear Atlanta Braves won the National League East division title last week, and it was sad to see the players, some barely adults themselves, restricted to “air” high-fives. A couple of guys were caught on camera exchanging a hug, with the look on their faces saying, “Are we gonna get fined for this?”

I know, I know. COVID-19 isn’t finished yet, not by a long shot. Halloween can’t be the same this year. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is “virtual.” What’s a parade without people? I guess that’s why many local Christmas parades have also been called off. There will be no crowd, shoulder-to-shoulder at Times Square on New Year’s Eve. And who knows what 2021 has up its sleeve? So we must find a way to do Halloween safely. Grown-ups need to figure it out, so our kids can be kids. This mess isn’t their fault. They just want to dress up and eat candy. Full disclosure: I don’t want to dress up, but I do enjoy the leftover candy.

In fact, I’m better at the adult side of Halloween than I was as a kid. While others can boast of creative Halloween costumes, my best one was Walter Cronkite. I wish I was joking. Yes, amid the super-heroes, the firemen, and the pirates, I was the most trusted man in America. Imagine a 9-year-old kid knocking on your door, dressed in a suit and tie, with a wispy little drawn-on mustache. The neighbors seemed to be more spooked by “mini-Walter” than the ghosts and goblins.

I wasn’t even good at the mischief. The other kids told me to “soap up the windows” of people who weren’t home. Sure enough, I did. But I soon felt guilty about it. I went back later that night to clean up the mess. Talk about a bad investment. I got no candy, and those folks got a freshly scrubbed, sparkling clean window. This would not bode well for my future business plans. But I did eventually go into TV news, so perhaps my early Cronkite imitation paid off. As Walter himself would say, “That’s the way it is.”

Now back to Halloween 2020. Several of my friends have offered suggestions on how to make it work. For instance, use a round tube (gift wrap tube, or PVC pipe) to slide the candy down directly into the kids bags. You could even decorate the tube.

Others are suggesting individually packaged goodie bags, just placed in a big bucket on the porch, so there’s no human hands involved in the exchange. It’s like the honor system. But is there honor among pre-schoolers faced with a bucket of candy? Not in my neighborhood.

Of course, masks are recommended for the candy-giving adults (preferably the medical masks, not the Dr. Fauci masks now in stores), along with gloves. Some communities and churches are encouraging “trunk or treat” events, where the candy can be carefully monitored, along with healthy distancing practices.

My friend D. L. Ables may have the perfect quote to sum it all up: “Department store bathrooms are open, but their dressing rooms are not. You can go out to eat with family members, but they are not allowed to go to your doctor appointment. You may have one visitor at the hospital, but your husband can’t accompany you to your ultrasound. You must put your money in a cup at the drive through, but the cashier then touches the same money, along with your bag of food as he hands it back. This world is weird right now. I’m confused.”

Me too, D.L. And you can add to that, “Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.”

David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” available on his website,  You may contact him at