Designing a Socially Distanced Halloween: Part One

Well, here comes my alpha side! There is a pandemic, yes! And a pandemic ain’t got nothing over a mom who is determined to have her boy and all other kiddos in the neighborhood have a blast on Halloween, safely…

This year on Halloween, we are gonna have an epic time, masked and all. But…what about that whole get close to the person to get/give candy thing? We all know, this is how it goes:

1.0 Cute kid in costume goes to the front door of the house and rings the bell
2.0 Adult opens the door with a bucket of candy
3.0 Kid says Trick or Treat! If the kid is lucky, he/she gets to pick from the candy bucket. Otherwise, the “responsible” grownup miserly gives the kid a little nugget
4.0 Kid says thank you and turn around
5.0 Kid goes to the next house and the whole thing repeatsThe entire time, at least the cute kid is within a foot of the responsible adult. Otherwise, how in the world are they going to get the candy?

If you are the worried parent of that cute kid, fret not! You can design and make some fun gadgets for your kiddo to use and be within a safe distance from the candy-dispensing adult. Here are some ways:

  1. Design a telescopic arm using regular printer paper with a little ziplock bag attached. Your kiddo can extend his/her arm and the dispensing adult can place the candy in the ziplock bag. The kiddo will then retract his cool arm! You can get the instructions for creating a telescopic arm here.
  2. Get a walking stick. When you arrive at your neighbor’s house, extend the walking stick, and hang the candy basket at the end. Your neighbor will get the hint!
  3. Get an old white towel or sheet. Draw a large circle in the middle with the black sharpie. After your kiddo rings the bell, have them run back to the driveway with the white sheet laid out. Have the neighbor practice their aim by throwing the candy onto the large circle in the sheet.
  4. Heck, challenge the candy dispensing adult to a game of catch. Have them throw the candy to you while you catch ’em as they come! Oh, wait, while your kid catches them as they come.

Now, what if you are that candy dispensing parent? Well, you can certainly use any of the techniques above and have a great time. But my favorite idea, which I am yet to design, by the way, is a candy-dispensing zipline.
We are going to prototype it this coming Friday and for now here are the things I think we need:* Two plastic large spools, about 10 inches in diameter. We are going to use the wheels that have my son’s 3D printer food wrapped around them. You can also use a cord storage reel like this one on Amazon.

* Some kind of thread that can be wrapped around the spools and travel in between. Be sure to keep the distance between the reels to at least 6 feet.

* A mechanism to turn the wheel/spool. You can superglue a wooden spoon or any kind of a plastic handle. You need to glue one to each wheel.

* A mechanism to secure the wheels + the thread at about 4 feet above the ground. (We are still thinking about this one so if you have any ideas, let me know).

This is how this bad boy is going to work. You can attach a little ziplock bag to the thread via a clothespin or even a paper click. Fill the bag with candy. Turn the crank and voila, you are in business. Look at the drawing below to get the idea. I will also post pictures and videos of our prototyping adventure in our next blog. Stay tuned!

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