How to Keep your Children Safe on Halloween During the COVID Pandemic

2020 has been quite a year! If you’re like many of us, you’ve probably got mixed emotions about the upcoming holiday season. On the one hand, it would be great to get back to a sense of normalcy, embracing well-loved traditions despite the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, what’s safe? As Halloween approaches, many parents are wondering how their kids can safely celebrate this festive holiday.

So, is trick-or-treating safe in 2020? If you think of all the ways Halloween is typically celebrated, with dances, parties, hayrides, and carnivals, trick-or-treating seems like a more manageable activity. It’s outside, and it’s relatively easy to stay socially distant from other kids. If you’re in a quiet neighborhood, trick-or-treating might be the way to go.

Infection disease specialists, however, urge caution. Especially if you live where community spread is still high, trick-or-treating may not be a good idea. If you’re in an area where the prevalence of COVID-19 is low, it’s still wise to be aware of potential dangers. What are the riskiest elements of trick-or-treating this year?

  • Being in a large group.: Trick-or-treating in a group of friends may not be the best idea, because being close to people from another household and spending several hours together brings a risk of virus transmission. If your kids have their hearts set on trick-or-treating with their friends, limit it to 3-4 kids from families who have been social distancing.
  • Face-to-face exposure at neighbor’s doors: Walking to a door, knocking, saying “trick or treat?”, taking some candy, and leaving doesn’t involve a lot of face to face time, it’s true. But even though it may not seem risky, the more households you visit, the more exposure you have, especially since other kids are lingering on the same doorsteps.
  • Touching things: This is the least concerning factor- just use hand sanitizer frequently and wash hands when you get home. There’s little risk of infection from candy wrappers, but to be extra careful, set aside most of the candy for 3 days before eating it.

The CDC advises that staying home may be best this year, celebrating Halloween by decorating your house, carving pumpkins, having a movie night, or maybe hosting a virtual costume contest. If you’re handing out candy, wear a mask or consider placing individually bagged treats on the porch. If you do decide to trick or treat, though, incorporate face masks into the costumes, don’t let kids share props or toys, and talk to your kids about not touching too many things or digging around in candy bowls.

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