Like everything else this year, COVID-19 is changing how we do Halloween, too. If you still want to celebrate the spooky season, here’s how you and your family can do it safely, according to the CDC.
Is It Safe to Trick-or-Treat in 2020?
It depends on how it’s done. The same pandemic rules apply – gathering in large groups is still high-risk for transmission, but Halloween can be celebrated in a socially distanced way.
According to the CDC, it’s only a moderate risk to participate in one-way trick-or-treating. This is where you line up individually wrapped treat bags for families to grab from a distance, like the end of your yard or driveway. If you want to leave treat bags this year, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water while singing “Happy Birthday” twice before and after you handle the bags.
Leaving a candy bowl on the porch or at the end of the driveway is another solution. The risk of transmission from surface bacteria is lower than scientists originally thought. That said, leave out hand sanitizer for trick-or-treaters, and if your kids are participating, make sure they sanitize their hands before and after reaching into communal candy bowls. They should stick with the first piece they touch.
Here are some other pointers for safe trick-or-treating:
- Make sure your children stay six feet away from other trick-or-treaters and parents.
- Don’t share candy bowls, props, toys, or masks with other children.
- Bring hand sanitizer and use it after each stop.
- Don’t touch your face. Help your children practice – it may be hard when they’re jazzed up about their costumes!
- Wear face masks.
Low-Risk Halloween Activities to Enjoy with the Family
It may take a little creativity to maintain the spirit of the season while staying in. Try these perfectly safe activities with your household:
- Decorate pumpkins and display them outdoors.
- Decorate pumpkins outside with neighbors or friends at least six feet apart.
- Decorate your house, apartment, or yard.
- Take a stroll with your family to admire Halloween decorations at a distance.
- Have a virtual Halloween costume contest.
- Watch Halloween movies with your household.
- Make and decorate Halloween cookies together. This recipe is friendly for most diets.
High-Risk Halloween Activities to Avoid
According to the CDC, these are high-risk Halloween festivities you’re encouraged to skip this year:
- Traditional trick-or-treating where children go door-to-door and treats are handed out. The more households you visit, the greater the chance that germs can linger and spread.
- Trick-or-treating in large groups where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Attending crowded indoor costume parties.
- Visiting an indoor haunted house where folks are crowded together and screaming.
- Traveling outside your community to visit a rural fall festival, especially if you live in an area with higher COVID-19 rates.
Basic Halloween Safety Tips
Even without COVID, Halloween can be a dangerous time of year for children. According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
Here’s how to stay safe:
- Make sure all costumes, wigs, and props are fire-resistant.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags, or give children glow sticks to make sure they’re visible in the dark.
- Make sure Halloween makeup is nontoxic and do a patch test before applying it.
- Accompany your children while they trick-or-treat.
- Plan an acceptable route if your children are old enough to trick-or-treat on their own and establish a time for them to be home.
- Instruct children never to accept a ride from a stranger or enter a stranger’s home.
- Don’t let children eat any treats before you have a chance to inspect them.
- Look both ways before crossing the street and pay attention while walking.
Keep Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters
Halloween is also a prime time for injuries. Remember, you can be held responsible for any injury that happens on your property. To limit that risk, be sure to:
- Clean up before trick-or-treaters arrive. Make sure all walkways are clear of tripping hazards, like garden hoses, toys, and decorations, and slipping hazards, like leaves or snow.
- Turn on the porch lights. Make sure your walkway is clearly visible.
- Keep your pets inside. If your excitable pup bites a child, you may be responsible for those medical bills, and poor Fido could face consequences, too. Keep everyone safe by keeping your animal companions at bay.
- Consider food allergies when leaving out candy. The most serious allergic reactions in the United States are caused by milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. About 2.5 percent of all children in the US are allergic to peanuts.
Stay safe, you lovely ghouls, and have fun!