Dear Readers: Some big cities are putting a stop to classic Halloween traditions like door-to-door trick-or-treating and haunted houses because of the coronavirus. Cities are actually cancelling these events because large gatherings of people often violate the city’s anti-COVID policies. Close contact with others, as we know, can spread the virus.
What’s left for a Halloween fiend to do to celebrate this holiday? Anything online via video conferencing, such as video costume and pumpkin-carving contests, drive-by parades or Halloween-themed movies are all good and safe choices.
So, this Halloween, be creative and come up with your own way to celebrate. Have a spooky, safe Halloween. — Heloise
TECH TALK TUESDAY
Dear Readers: In this new age of COVID-19, many of us are communicating via home-based video conference calls. We need to make sure the background of the video shot is not giving away any personal information.
A blank background is best. Family pictures, paperwork, delivery boxes and other clutter can not only be distracting, but could potentially lead to security issues, including identity theft.
Make sure no one can take a screen shot, zoom in on something in the background and get your address. Positioning yourself in front of an empty wall is probably the best place to do video conferencing. Safety first. — Heloise
NATIONAL ELDER FRAUD HOTLINE
Dear Readers: We spend a lot of time and effort in this column writing about frauds and scams, particularly targeted toward older folks. Did you know that there is a free resource the United States Department of Justice has set up to help victims report fraud and get support?
The National Elder Fraud Hotline can be reached at 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311). Your call will be answered by a live operator who will assign you a case manager. The hotline is open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and they have English- and Spanish-speaking representatives. Their website is a good resource too: www.stopelderfraud.ovc.ojp.gov.
One of the big topics they cover is romance scams. This is an almost $200 million a year racket, and the main reason the hotline was founded. If you’ve fallen for this scam, do not feel ashamed, scared or embarrassed. Check out the hotline. — Heloise
THE YOLK’S ON YOU
Dear Heloise: To capture an egg yolk, I crack the egg on a plate, put a glass over the yolk, and tip the plate into a bowl. The white will slide into the bowl, and the glass will contain the yolk. — Helen in California
BLACK OR NAVY EASY ID
Dear Heloise: After washing, I hang all navy slacks on blue plastic hangers. That way I can tell at a glance what pants I am grabbing. Also, I store my shoes in the closet grouped by color. I have identical styles in multiple colors, and don’t always have my glasses on. No more guessing. This makes getting dressed so easy, I may have to work a few more years! — Jan, via email
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.