Halloween safety has taken on a whole new meaning with the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you decide to trick-or-treat or plan family-friendly Halloween activities instead, this Oct. 31 will be different from any other.
Here are you some tips to help you celebrate safely:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises trick-or-treating is a “higher risk activity” and some communities are banning it or discouraging it. If you still decide to trick or treat, stick to your direct neighborhood and consider limiting the number of houses you visit. Treats could be individually bagged and placed outside the home on a table or porch or using a candy chute, rather than having kids cluster around the door. Remember COVID-19 precautions apply! Keep 6 feet apart from other trick-or-treaters, bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after you leave each house or touch any objects. When you return home, immediately wash your hands. The C.D.C. also recommends letting candy sit for at least 24 hours prior to opening it.
If attending outdoor events with people from outside of your household, check the local guidance in your area to ensure outdoor gatherings are permitted and the maximum number of people allowed. Physical distancing of 6 feet, wearing masks and frequent hand hygiene are still recommended to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Outdoors does not mean it is OK to skip precautions! If you feel unwell do not attend any events with anyone outside your home.
Wearing a costume is fun for kids and adults, but if you wear your costume to school, work or anywhere outside of the home, please remember to wear a cloth mask at a minimum and do not use a costume mask in place of a cloth mask. And do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask as it may make breathing difficult. Children under 2 years old should not wear a mask. Staying home? Consider organizing a video conference with friends and family to show off your costume creations!
Halloween falls on a weekend this year so you can plan a whole weekend of spooky fun. Paint or carve pumpkins, decorate Halloween-themed cupcakes, watch scary movies and lead your children or grandchildren on a candy scavenger hunt. All of these activities are safer than collecting candy door-to-door.
Once you decide how your family will celebrate, make sure young children know what they can expect. If you are going to skip the candy collection, tell kids in advance. And if you are going trick-or-treating, strongly consider scaling back and setting a specific number of houses before you go out. Halloween might be scary but it shouldn’t bring tears.