Dear Annie: Here are some tips to help keep yourself, your family and your neighborhood safe during Halloween, while still celebrating this whimsical time of year.

1. Get the facts. Brush up on the CDC Halloween guidelines (yes, the CDC has guidelines, and no, your Halloween mask does not replace your normal mask). Educate yourself on the safest ways to proceed for your household. The CDC lists activities from lowest risk to highest risk. You’ll find some of their ideas in this list.

2. Know the safest alternatives: If you want to be as safe as possible, consider alternative in-home-only activities for your entire household. Coordinate a virtual costume party with your friends. Host a Zoom pumpkin carving event with the people you would normally invite over. Decorate sugar cookies and watch your favorite Halloween movies at home. Host a virtual event where each friend brings a scary story to share.

3. Avoid the front door. COVID-19 spreads when people “share the air” and having kids walk up to your front door is an easy way to “share the air” and put yourself at risk. Instead, do the candy transactions or other activities out in the open, where there’s air circulation. Get creative blocking off areas where you don’t want people. Use ropes and spiderwebs, chains and even lawn furniture with skeletons in it. Make it clear visually where you want people to go.

4. Distance candy distribution: Placing candy into a kid’s trick-or-treat bag by hand means you’re close enough to get or spread COVID-19. So, how do you avoid this? There are some creative solutions to get candy to kids from a distance. Some families are making a candy chute that spits candy out from a distance. Test it first to make sure you get it just right. As a last resort, you might place a large candy bowl at the front of your driveway and stay inside. It’s not going to help the kids socially distanced from each other, but it should keep them from coming to your door. — Vanessa Alvarez of Nexme

Dear Vanessa: It’s a tricky year for handing out treats. I appreciate these tips for doing so safely and the creative ideas of alternate activities.

Dear Annie: I don’t know what to do about my husband anymore. I am just about to lose it with him. He’s always calling me bad names, and I’ve noticed him leering at my sister many times. Whenever I call him out on it, he gets aggressive and it becomes a big argument. He tells me I should just leave. I am really getting tired of this mistreatment. It’s always something, every week. Yet, whenever I’ve prepared to leave, he’s tried to smooth things over with me, for the sake of appearances. I feel so unwanted and unhappy, but I know that I’m not in the wrong. What should I do? — Desperate in Denver

Dear Desperate: First and foremost, I must say that if your husband’s insults constitute verbal abuse, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

If his behavior is inconsiderate but not abusive, then I encourage you to attend marriage counseling. I only have a vague picture of the situation based on your letter, but it’s clear that you two aren’t communicating well. Marriage counseling can offer a neutral space in which you can both learn not just how to express yourselves but how to better listen to each other.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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