Halloween or Hallowon’t


Halloween during a pandemic. Well, at least everyone’s already wearing masks, right? My kids are in high school, so it’s less of an issue for us. They’re planning on going to friends’ houses and celebrating with a party instead of traditional trick or treating. They’ve already been hanging out with these friends since summer, so it’s equally safe as doing homework together.

On my neighborhood Facebook group, there have been some questions about neighborhood plans as well as some suggestions. One neighbor wants to do treat bags on a table at the end of the driveway, and limit trick or treating to certain hours – from five until eight. I thought that seemed reasonable.

Another thought was of a scavenger hunt with houses providing clues to their kids to find candy. The parents would do all the work and the neighbors who participated would volunteer so the kids weren’t randomly going to people’s houses who had no idea what was going on. I thought this was a great idea.

We usually have a bucket of toys and comic books in addition to candy, so the kids can choose which treat they prefer. They toys are the kind you get from McDonald’s Happy Meals or similar small items. Some are packaged, but some are gently used. We’ve decided to suspend this practice until next year (hopefully). I know our items are safe, but why put the parents in the position of having to say no to a toy if they have (legitimate) concerns.

I also thought that instead of having the kids reach into our candy bowl and choose their preference, we would have more of the same candies and hand it out ourselves. Two candies per child. We can wear gloves and put it right into their basket or bag.

I know some doctors and experts have talked about avoiding family during the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are closer than we think they are. We haven’t decided our holiday plans, but I also think that Halloween is a different circumstance. I don’t mean it’s more important than our traditional family holidays, but in some ways it kind of is. It’s fun. It’s dressing up. It’s candy. And it can be done in a responsible and socially distant way. Kids can come to the door one or two at a time. The candy givers can wear masks and gloves. There’s no hugging, shaking hands, sitting around a table talking and eating.

To be honest, it really sounds a lot easier.

Maybe we can have a Halloween inspired Thanksgiving. Drive thru. Go to Grandma’s house and she’ll give everyone a Tupperware filled with a portioned out turkey dinner. Same with Christmas; just add presents to the drive thru lane.

I don’t know. I’m still working on that one. In the meantime, let’s enjoy Halloween as best as we can. Teach our kids that we need to make some changes this year to keep everyone safe, and we can do that and still have fun. I’m planning on dressing up as a postal carrier if I can find my parents’ old work shirts.

We’ll find out in one week.

What are your plans for Halloween? Do you have any suggestions for making it fun and safe for kids in this unusual year?

Budget Travel – TSA and the Government Shutdown


I discovered this link in my email from Budget Travel. It has some useful tips on getting through security.

While the government is partially shutdown, several of those agencies that are deemed essential and working are not getting paid. This makes for a(n) (understandably) frustrating situation for those employees and their families. Some have been calling in sick. I can’t say I blame them.

Budget Travel has offered what it thinks you can expect, and some ways to make it easier on you and your family when you’re traveling during this time.

Please also don’t forget the TSA employees who are working to keep all of us safe and not getting paid for their important work. (Not everyone will be given their back pay; I don’t know the specifics of who will and who won’t, but I do believe it would need an order signed by the President.)

Tips to Stay Hydrated and Safe


1. Drink lots of water. Not vitamin water, not flavored water, not tea, not coffee, not soda, no electrolyte replenishments (except when you’re doing serious physical activity).

Nothing beats plain ice cold water to refresh and rehydrate. If you’re just rehydrating, the temperature doesn’t matter, but ice cold water is the best.

2. It’s so important, I’ll say it again: Unless you’re doing strenuous, physical activity and you’re losing minerals and nutrients, H2O for you. Plain, unadulterated water. Save the mineral replacement until you’re losing minerals.

3. Sunscreen. Get the highest spf you find. For my kids I use 50 and above. I try to look for 70spf. Neutragena is a good product that we’ve used for years. Coppertone Sport is also highly recommended. The spray on kinds are convenient and work. Make sure you spray your kids’ hands so they can get the sunscreen on their faces.

Don’t forget eyelids, tips and backs of ears, noses, and lips.

4. Crack the windows of your car. Even with leaving them open a little, do not leave anything in your car. No kids. No pets. No electronic equipment. If you wouldn’t leave your cell phone or laptop, why are you leaving your kids in there?

5. Swim in pairs. We’ve been told since the 70s to use the buddy system. Why? Because it works. Do not go into any body of water, including backyard pools without letting someone know that you are in the water.

It is everyone’s responsibility to keep an eye on toddlers and preschoolers in and around pools. I don’t care if your friend is always an irresponsible idiot. If you see a child near water, shadow them or make sure the parent knows they’re near the water. Babies and children that young can drown in very small amounts of water.

Keep empty planters and buckets outside upside down so they don’t accumulate water that small ones can tumblr into (unless of course, you collect rain water. If that’s the case, make sure that the water areas are safe from children.)

Summertime should be relaxing and fun. Taking care and following some safety tips will ensure that it stays that way.

Medical I.D.s


For those of you with “dumb” phones, you can also add a contact name, ICE (in case of emergency) and list who you want medical professionals to call. In the notes of that contact you can include allergies and medications as well as medical conditions.

In addition, I use an app called MediSafe that reminds me to take and keeps track of my medications.

You can find it in the Google Play Store or on iTunes.

Do I Look Sick?

Happy July 4th everyone! On big holidays like this it’s important to stay safe. If you have a chronic illness, there’s another important step to take in addition to calling an uber if you’re drinking and making sure to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated- you should have a medical I.D.

Luckily it’s pretty easy to not leave home without one in this age of smartphones. In fact, if you have an iPhone, you already have one built in, you just need to fill it out.

Check out the app with the little heart. You’ve probably used it to check out how many steps you’ve taken in a day.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the words Medical I.D.

It’s as simple as clicking it and filling in your information. Then your medical I.D. Can be viewed from the emergency mode by medical professionals even if the screen is…

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