Halloween candy catapults, chutes and ziplines: How some will greet trick-or-treaters in 2020

Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA TODAY
·4 min read

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Halloween's going to look different this year. But that isn't stopping neighbors from giving candy to children in costume (and masks).

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidance on holiday celebrations maintains that traditional trick or treating is a high risk activity — one that should be avoided to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. "One-way trick or treating," however, is suggested as a safer alternative.

The CDC identifies "one-way trick or tricking" as an activity with moderate risk. If houses choose to participate, individually-wrapped goodie bags prepared with clean hands and "lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)" are encouraged.

Across the country, people are getting creative — building unique gadgets to hand out candy in a fun, but COVID-cautious way. Here's a look at some of the devices that will be used this year.

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More: CDC recommends avoiding traditional trick-or-treating

Candy Catapult

In Rhode Island, the Hingorany family has built a 12-foot orange catapult that resembles a giant Lego project or something out of a Pixar movie.

Barrington, Rhode Island mom Lindsey Hingorany takes no credit for the building of this candy catapult that her husband and sons erected for Halloween visitors.
Barrington, Rhode Island mom Lindsey Hingorany takes no credit for the building of this candy catapult that her husband and sons erected for Halloween visitors.

Assembled from lumber scraps and household objects, the device will hurl Twix and Skittles to the edge of their driveway, possibly beyond.

"We’ll be launching all afternoon.” Lindsey Hingorany said of Saturday's upcoming festivities. “We’ve been practicing all week... The kids are eating everything they throw.”

— Linda Borg, The Providence Journal

Candy gardens

Usually, Lynn Rutecki just leaves a bowl of candy out with a sign asking trick-or-treaters to take one piece.

This year she is planting a candy garden near the bottom of the driveway at her suburban Philadelphia home. She and 8-year-old son, Jake, will waive from the patio dressed as Willy Wonka and his protégé, Charlie Bucket.

Lynn Rutecki and son, Jake, are planting a candy garden to match their Halloween costume theme of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory outside their Middletown, Penn. home.
Lynn Rutecki and son, Jake, are planting a candy garden to match their Halloween costume theme of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory outside their Middletown, Penn. home.

Rutecki attached 55 pieces of candy to wooden dowels that she will stick in the ground. She is making signs letting people know to help themselves.

“2020 has been hard enough, we don’t need to make it more challenging,” she said.

— Jo Ciavaglia, Bucks County Courier Times

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Pirate ship with candy chute

The Schrey family in Pennsylvania turned a motorboat (which typically spends the winter parked in their front yard) into a pirate ship. They decked it out with orange lights, black netting, a spider web, a few skeletons and ghouls, a skull and crossbones flag.

The most important addition is a long, gray, fist-wide PVC pipe attached to the bow, which will act as a candy chute.

Heather Schrey, of Levittown, Penn.,  gets ready for Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic, by testing the chute that candy, and ghost pops will slide through for the trick or treaters on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.
Heather Schrey, of Levittown, Penn., gets ready for Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic, by testing the chute that candy, and ghost pops will slide through for the trick or treaters on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.

— Jo Ciavaglia, Bucks County Courier Times

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Spooky zipline, candy drone and cannon

In Michigan, a family's spooky zipline is getting attention on Twitter. CW17 JAX shared a video of a device that quickly delivers candy and drinks to trick or treaters (and chaperones) on the other side of their lawn.

Another group is testing a drone in preparation for Saturday — to deliver treats for self-isolating kids. Suggestions were shared on Twitter.

"Candy cannons" have also become popular — from reimaged t-shirt cannons to homemade pipes aimed for trick or treaters on the sidewalk.

In Canada, an 11-year-old shared his invention with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Halloween 2020 trick-or-treat chutes, catapults to socially distance