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Halloween Safety for 2020

Halloween is just around the corner, and parents are wondering what to do.  Just like most things in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween will be very different this year around the country.  Although kids often have only mild symptoms from COVID-19, they can sometimes have severe symptoms, and we also know that they can spread it to others, including adults who might be at high risk of complications.  We want to keep our kids and our family safe.  The CDC is discouraging traditional trick-or-treat activities, and your kids may not be happy to hear that trick-or-treat is not happening this year.  
 
Halloween Safety for 2020I remember in 2011, we had a strong Nor'easter hit our town on October 29th.  There were trees and powerlines down all around us and our town officially cancelled trick-or-treat.  My kids were so bummed!  We had to get creative and come up with alternate plans.  You can do the same this year!  There are some creative ways that you and your kids can still have fun this Halloween.  Let's talk about some ideas to consider, and also about some things that you should avoid.
 
Should you Trick-or-Treat?
 
Traditional trick-or-treat, where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door is a high risk activity, not just for the kids, but for the neighborhood as a whole.  It is best to avoid trick-or-treat this year and choose an alternate Halloween activity.
 
If you or your child are sick, or if you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in any Halloween activities where you will be exposed to others.  This includes handing out candy if people are trick-or-treating in your neighborhood.
 
What about costume masks?  
  • A costume mask is not going to provide any protection from COVID-19.  It is not a substitute for a cloth face covering.  You and your child need to wear a face covering that is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose, and does not leave gaps around the face.  
  • Do not wear and especially don't have your children wear a costume mask over a cloth or medical mask.  This can make it harder to breathe, and hard to get enough oxygen.
  • Consider a Halloween themed cloth mask.  There are lots available or you can make your own.
  • Save the traditional costume mask for home when only your household members are around.
What are some alternative ideas for Halloween that have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19?
  • Carve or decorate pumpkins with members of your own household.  
  • If you move the carving outside, you can include friends or neighbors, as long as you wear an appropriate mask and keep a safe distance from each other.
  • Have a virtual costume contest.
  • Have a Halloween movie night with your family.  
  • If you have an outdoor projector, you can host a movie outdoors with friends or neighbors, again making sure you all wear an appropriate mask and keep a safe distance.  Please be aware that if you expect screaming to occur, you need more distance between you to be safe.
  • Have a Halloween candy hunt for your kids in your home or yard (think Easter eggs).
  • Do a scavenger hunt where you give your children a list of Halloween themed things to look for while you walk with them around the neighborhood looking at decorations from a distance.  Maybe they can win one piece of candy from you for each thing they find.
  • Have a neighborhood costume parade, where each family is separated from each other by a safe distance.
With some creativity, we can all have a fun and safe Halloween this year. 
 
You can use this link to see more information from the CDC about Halloween activities.
 
 
If you have any questions about Halloween safety, please log into your account and send us your question. We are here to help.

Dr. Anita Bennett MD - Health Tip Content Editor
 
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