Monday, June 24, 2024

Play Trick-or-Treat, a downloadable board game, can sub in for real trick-or-treating during coronavirus restrictions.

There’s no question this year’s Halloween is going to be different. The coronavirus means there won’t be the heralded Crescent Street block party, with Agassiz neighborhood homes ornately turned into mini haunted house attractions, or the wild door-to-door visits on Pearl Street in Cambridgeport, or similar community festivities. The city canceled block parties and municipal holiday events, and trick-or-treating is being discouraged.


One alternative that has popped up: Play Trick-or-Treat, a board game designed by Audrey Day-Williams, a Baldwin parent. “Most the things I love about Halloween didn’t feel safe to do this year,” said Day-Williams, a resident of The Port neighborhood. “When it became clear that our family was not alone, I came up with an idea that would mimic the trick-or-treating experience.”

Your stake in the game is a bowl of candy – at least 25 pieces from “a large bag of fun-size Halloween candy” is the recommendation in the instructions – and your board token is a piece of candy chosen from that bowl. Play is determined by rolls of a die and Trick & Treat cards: If you draw the card with the hopping mad fairy, she could turn the player into a frog, causing a forfeit of all their sugary booty; or a player might be called on by a card’s instructions to walk like a zombie, with two pieces of candy as a reward. It’s like Candy Land gone witchy.

Day-Willams, who writes children’s picture books and poems – her work is published in the 2018 anthology “An Assortment of Animals” – collaborated with artist Creedance Kenna, a friend who has youngsters and similar Halloween concerns.

To get the game, go to the Play Trick-or-Treat website, which links to an Etsy store to buy. It cost $5 to download; the pieces must be printed out and assembled, which can become a communal arts and craft ritual to prime the festivities. In these tough times, Day-Williams said that anyone in the Cambridge Public Schools community, or others feeling strapped but needing some safe fun, can email her at [email protected] for a free download, no questions asked.