On October 31st, it’ll be time to dress up the kids in a spooky outfit and hit the streets in search of candy.
Halloween is one of the most popular amd enduring traditions in North America, and while the risk of COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, it feels that bit more normal this year, and families should enjoy trick-or-treating while taking reasonable precautions.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that kids can indeed still enjoy a safe, fun Halloween. But here are a few simple precautions that trick-or-treaters can take.
Of course, a large part of Halloween is wearing a mask, but most Halloween masks that cover the entire face have holes for breathing — they don’t fit snugly and protect others. While these type of masks are fine to wear outdoors or in your home, they should not be worn in place of a non-medical mask in indoor public spaces.
Children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, which means the majority of kids going door to door are still at an increased risk for contracting the virus.
Because COVID-19 spreads through respiratory transmission, masking remains an effective way to reduce the spread of infection for kids age 2 and older. Parents can get creative about making a face mask part of a child’s costume. Or, kids can wear a face mask under their costume mask. Parents should make sure their child is able to breathe comfortably if choosing this option.
Create Spooky Masks
Crafting a spooky mask together can be a fun activity for the whole family.
- Make or purchase plain masks
- Decorate by drawing a skeleton mouth or a grinning jack-o’-lantern mouth on with a fabric marker
- Glue on fake teeth or a scary clown face
Children and parents, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask when attending indoor parties or when going door to door due to the close interactions with other people. Those giving out candy should also wear a face mask.
Keep hands clean
Washing hands and using hand sanitizer remains a priority. Even though the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 via candy wrappers is relatively low, that risk decreases even further when proper hand hygiene is practiced prior to passing out candy.
Bring hand sanitizer with you and clean your hands often, especially if you are putting on and taking off a mask or face covering and touching high-touch surfaces.
Kids should wash their hands before they eat their candy in case they picked up any germs while out and about. The candy wrappers themselves are not considered contagious, so there’s no need to quarantine the candy before eating it.
Wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Other ways families can celebrate while maintaining a low risk status are to keep gatherings and activities outside, where people are less likely to contract the virus, and to keep groups small.
Do not go out if you are unwell, any kids who are demonstrating signs of illness should be kept home to rest and avoid exposing others to their germs.
It’s Better to Give than Receive
For those planning to hand out candy, the recommended advice is sitting on the porch, driveway or front yard to greet trick-or-treaters. Make sure to keep a 6-foot distance, hand sanitizer handy and masks on – bonus if they are spooky!
If you can, set up a table with the treats on it, so kids can serve themselves. If that’s not possible, regularly clean and disinfect doorbells, handrails and door handles.
Do not have many hands reaching into a single container. Use tongs or other utensils to hand out treats, or place pre-portioned candy in plastic cups.
People should wear a non-medical mask when physical distancing is not possible, and never ask visitors to sing or shout for their treats.
Remember, if you are not participating, turn off the lights, take down decorations or put up a sign saying you’re not participating.