Ideas for a socially distant halloween party
Back when we had to cancel our St. Patty’s plans, none of us thought we’d still be in a pandemic by Halloween. The good news? Masks are very in right now. The bad news? This could be the most terrifying Halloween party you ever host, and not because you went all out on spooky decorations.
Right off the top, Saucey has some ground rules for in-person parties this fall. If any of us were invited to a party that wasn’t following these basics, we’re out of there faster than you can say “SARS-CoV-2.”
Know your local jurisdiction’s guidelines on in-person gatherings. If the cops have to come break up your party, both hosts and guests could be liable for fines for breaking local social distancing ordinances. Some places, like NYC, are fining people up to $1000 for congregating indoors in large groups or for not wearing a mask. Is getting second place in your pal’s costume contest worth giving almost your entire stimulus check back to the government? So keep your numbers small. Conveniently, this makes a great excuse for telling Rachel she can’t bring that boyfriend everyone hates.
Replace the haunted house with a haunted garden
Do whatever you can to have your Halloween party in an open-air environment. For one thing, you’ll be allowed to invite more people to an outdoor gathering than to an indoor party. For Los Angelenos and other warm-weather lucky ducks the temperature might be no issue, while Chicagoans probably need to wear long johns under their Batsuit this year. But yards can be spooky! All the leaves falling, the wind blowing in the trees as the full moon shines down. Get your firepit going, hand around some hot toddies, and you have yourself the perfect environment to tell ghost stories.
Make PPE and sanitizer available
This one is for your safety and your guests comfort. Everyone should have a mask upon entry and only take it off while drinking or eating. If a mask is part of someone’s costume, just be sure it still covers their nose and mouth completely. We predict The Scream mask is gonna be huge this year. Have hand sanitizer available for everyone to use when they enter, and then whenever they feel so inclined during the party. You need a solution that is 70% pure alcohol to kill any germs, so unfortunately your 40% ABV vodka isn’t going to defend you from much. Everclear could work though… But to be safe, just use hand sanitizer and keep the spirits for drinking and the ouija board.
Put out a super spread without being a super spreader
At a regular Halloween party, you’d probably set up a table with the snacks and drinks, available for anyone to grab what they want with their bare hands, breathing their mouth vapor all over the offerings as they make their choices. God, we used to live so dangerously. Communal snacks and drinks are out this year. Instead, do a throwback to your sixth birthday and make everyone their own goody bag of treats. You can do all pre-packaged foods, or individual servings of your home-made brownies and artichoke dip. A shooter or two brings the goody bag to a more mature level.
As for the drinks, now is your chance to play bartender! It’s more hygienic to have just one person touching all the bottles and bar equipment. Offer to make your guests a drink of their choice. If you make a punch, ladle it yourself, or put it in individual containers before guests arrive, so you can avoid having everyone touching the same ladle. Not confident you’ll be able to mix drinks without accidentally poisoning someone? If you want to splurge and help someone out, there are also plenty of unemployed bartenders right now who could use a night of work. Whether you serve the drinks yourself, pay someone else to do it, or package everything individually (hello, mason jars!) is up to you. Either way, you’re helping to keep yourself and your guests safe.