Why You Might See Purple Pumpkins on Porches This Year

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Everyone knows Halloween's colors are black and orange, but this year, there's a new hue in town. As the spooky holiday approaches, you might start seeing purple pumpkins appearing on people's front steps — and they're not just a stylistic choice.

The hashtag #operationsavehalloween is sweeping across social media, and it's calling people to action to continue the tradition of trick-or-treating this year. According to Readers Digest, "placing a purple pumpkin out on your porch, in your window, or on your lawn signifies a safe location for trick-or-treating." It means you are "open for business," so to speak, and that you're taking safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Purple pumpkins also symbolize epilepsy awareness.)

But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) doesn't encourage the usual festivities this year. "Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses," the CDC states on its website. "If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters."

With that warning in mind, many people have decided not to give out candy to trick-or-treaters or let their kids participate in the festivities this year — which is a pretty sound decision in our book. This dad even created a candy chute.

The CDC says moderate risk activities include "one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are 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)." But you should remember to wash your hands while prepping them (and after).

Low-risk ideas include an indoor "scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search" for the family at home or creating "lists of Halloween-themed things to look for" while kiddos walk outdoors "from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance."

Stefanie is a New York–based writer and editor. She has served on the editorial staffs of Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, before setting out on her own as a freelancer. Her beats include architecture, design, art, travel, science, and history, and her words have appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Popular Science, Mental Floss, Galerie, Jetsetter, and History.com, among others. In another life, she'd be a real estate broker since she loves searching for apartments and homes.

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