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Chutes and Candy

Make trick-or-treating safe for all this year with a 6-foot delivery

By Aldona Bird

While 2020 might seem like one long nightmare to many, we all want to make the traditionally spookiest night of the year fun, especially for our kiddos.

Between changes in school, social and extracurricular activities, all the changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought has been stressful for   all ages. The normalcy of donning a costume and parading around the neighborhood would be a welcome relief.

The CDC has listed traditional trick-or-treating as a high-risk activity. Nonetheless, most local neighborhoods anticipate trick-or-treating and/or events such as trunk-or-treating. We can be creative together to make traditional activities safer.

 Even before this pandemic, kids rooting around in a communal bowl of candy was not an appetizing thought to many of us. Now, we shouldn’t get close enough to individually drop candy into baskets and buckets.

 With a few hours and some creativity you can make a slide to distribute candy to dressed up youngsters in a safe and fun way, while staying 6 or more feet apart.

 To make a candy distributor: 

  • PVC pipe, rain gutter, cardboard, or other materials 
  • wood scraps in various sizes 
  • saw 
  • drill and screws (optional, depending what other materials you use) 

Tutorials are starting to permeate the internet and media on how to build a candy chute with PVC pipe. Using 6-foot or longer pieces of three inch plastic pipe to create a candy chute is a one method.

If using PVC pipe for the chute itself, you can also use the same material to create a stand that will hold the pipe at an angle to ensure treats make it from you to the witch, fairy, TV character or other trickster at the lower end of the chute.

 Simply use PVC junctions and shorter pipes to create upside-down Ts, attached to either end of the angled pipe for support and stability.

 But if you don’t have extra pipe lying around (or even if you do), consider  other materials you have on hand before running to a hardware shop. Using odds and ends you already have at home not only keeps you safe from risk of infection/spreading coronavirus while shopping, it is also free and environmentally friendly.

 If you happen to be in the process of replacing your rain gutters, old gutters make a great candy slide.

HOT TIP: cutting plastic such as pipe or gutters can result in shards and jagged edges; if using a circular saw, simply flip the blade over before cutting. Reversing the blade will give you a clean and safe cut.

 Using wood scraps, create a lower end support for your slide by making a T. The cross piece should be 18 inches or more to provide stability. The vertical piece should be the same or longer, to give room for trick or treaters to place their bucket under. Turn the T over, so the vertical piece is on the bottom.

Build another T for the top end support, about four feet tall. Turn the T over. For stability, add another shorter piece of wood to join the vertical and horizontal boards. It should touch the ground and go straight up the vertical board, with screws securing it into both boards.

 Hold the gutter or other slide material at the proper angle along side the properly spaced support boards. Mark the angle to cut the tops of the boards so the slides will sit flush. Cut the boards to this angle, and secure with screws.

 Make sure your slide is at least 6 feet long. Once complete, decorate to match your own costume or home decorations! 

 If you don’t have materials to build a slide, consider a candy zip line, pulley system or hanging bundles of candy on a tree — just make sure they are easy to remove, so kids and parents don’t have to spend time trying to remove them.

 Whatever your COVID-safe method of candy distribution is, remember incorporate a mask into your costume.

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