Here are some ways to celebrate Halloween

By: Natasha Barrett

Halloween is on a Saturday this year. Your children are off from school and more than likely have already been talking about what costume they want to wear for trick-or-treating, what friends they want to go with and what family can come over. While their excitement is building for a fun night, your anxiety about how to keep your kids safe in this age of COVID-19 is probably reaching a fever pitch.

Victoria Regan, M.D., pediatrician and vice president at Women’s & Children’s Service Line with Memorial Hermann, is concerned about Halloween and how it could lead to a “superspreader” event.

“We typically trick-or-treat outside, but you just don’t know for sure whether that person handing you candy is well or if that person has been taking proper precautions in the past,” Regan said. “Obviously, as the CDC recommends, skipping trick-or-treating is the best way to avoid infection. However, there are ways to minimize your exposure and still have fun.”

Regan suggests the following safety measures will go a long way towards keeping your family safe and allow you to have a Happy Halloween.

Tips for Trick-or-Treating

Wear A Mask – Wear a surgical mask and not a costume mask because the costume mask will not protect you from COVID-19. Regan adds you shouldn’t wear two masks. Wearing a costume mask over a surgical mask is not recommended because it can interfere with breathing.

Candy – It’s recommended that you spread candy out and apart on a table or on your neighborhood sidewalk so kids can grab it easily. It’s best to avoid allowing kids to grab candy out of the same bowl.

Here’s some safer ways to celebrate Halloween:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them.
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
  • Decorating your house, apartment or living space.
  • Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
  • Virtual Halloween costume contest with friends from near and far.
  • Halloween movie night with people who live in your home.
  • Scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going from house to house.

Stay Outdoors:

  • Keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control recommends to keep the group small and stay outdoors. According the CDC, the Halloween activities that are more risky in terms of COVID-spread potential are hayrides, trunk-or-treats, crowded costume parties, traveling to rural fall festivals that are not in your area, indoor haunted houses, and sadly, traditional trick-or-treating. 

Outdoor Options:

  • Pumpkin Patches. One of the most popular options is visiting a pumpkin patch. There are several located all around town. The farms are taking extra safety precautions adding hand sanitation stations and spreading out the activities this year. Some are requiring reservations along with a ticket to control the crowds entering at the same time.
  • Haunted houses are also social distancing guests and limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.

Plus, remember to keep six feet apart in haunted houses where people may be screaming or laughing.

“More forceful breathing means respiratory droplets can possibly get through a mask. Keep in mind there is no way to ensure that everyone’s mask is as effective as the one you are wearing.” Regan said.

One Last Tip

Because we all know the first thing any kid wants to do when they get home after trick-or-treating is to enjoy the candy, plan ahead. Have some candy at home already. This way the candy collected during trick-or-treating can sit for several days before allowing anyone to dig in, just to be safe. Taking these extra steps this year will help your family have a safe and fun Halloween.

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