Sweet! Watch WTOP’s Neal Augenstein build, test candy chute for COVID-safer Halloween

The Virginia Department of Health’s guidance for observing a safer Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic includes tips for those who want to give out candy to kids safely.

The health experts first suggestion was taking a folding table out to the driveway, sidewalk or stoop, and spreading out candy on a folding table, so kids could pick up without reaching into a bowl or pile.

Safer? Yes. Fun? No way.

But then came their last suggestion: “a candy chute.”


candy chute neal
A trip to a plumbing department turned up the solution: PVC pipe. A 10-foot section cost about $8. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

As long as the chute was more than 6 feet long, the health department said. A quick glance at Amazon determined candy chutes weren’t already mass-produced and ready to be shipped to my home. So, I’d have to make one myself.

If I had a long, thick, corrugated cardboard tube, I would have been all set. But they’re never piling up in the garage when you need them.

A trip to a plumbing department turned up the solution: PVC pipe. A 10-foot section cost about $8.

Once I got it to my SUV, I realized it was a couple feet too long to fit inside, even with the seats down. So I opened the front passenger window, and the pipe stuck out, nestling next to the side-view mirror.

Since the happiness of children was at stake, I picked up a small(ish) variety bag of Halloween chocolates on the way home — purely for testing purposes.

At the grocery store, while I was looking for some orange or Halloween-themed wrapping paper to decorate the pipe, I stumbled upon a decorated Halloween paper table covering — even better!

A little tape, and the candy chute was ready for testing on the front steps of my house.

I slipped a Hershey’s chocolate bar into the top of the chute and whoosh — one second later, it plopped into the plastic candy bucket strategically placed at the bottom of the stairs.

WTOP’s Halloween investigative team has learned that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups will get stuck if the tube’s diameter isn’t large enough; Almond Joys and KitKats are no problem. The team solved this problem by eating most of the peanut butter cups.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up