There will definitely be no bobbing for apples this Halloween! So, what is safe for little ghouls and goblins out to have spooky fun in a pandemic year? We checked with the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Child Life and Infection Prevention Team and here’s what they had to say.
Trick or Treating: Unfortunately, trick or treating this year is not risk-free. Reaching into a container of candy, close contact in the doorway of someone’s home, or removing a face covering in a crowded space to eat a treat all pose a possible risk of exposing children or adults to COVID-19.
If you choose to trick or treat this year and there are no specific restrictions issued by local public health officials, the Team encourages you to follow these tips to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19:
- Wear a face covering or mask that covers the mouth and nose with minimal gaps the entire time while trick or treating. A Halloween mask isn’t a replacement for a face mask.
- Don’t share costume accessories (crowns, swords, etc.) with other trick-or-treaters and have each child hold their own candy bag.
- Limit the number of kids you trick or treat with.
- No sneaking treats. Instruct your children to not eat candy from their bag while trick or treating. This will help them keep their masks on and keep their hands away from their face.
- Remind children to clean their hands with hand sanitizer both before and after grabbing candy from a container. In some cases, it may be more appropriate for a parent to pick the treats if the parent is better able to perform hand hygiene.
- Remember, while it is a lot of fun to scare each other on Halloween, a howl or a scream could actually spread COVID-19! Similar to singing, screaming can expel respiratory droplets into the air.
- Explore alternatives to trick or treating like an outdoor pumpkin patch or corn maze with appropriate social distancing. Communities could also set up door, window, or house decorating contests. Or, you can create a festive atmosphere at home with special games, treats, and movies just for you and the kids.
No matter what your plans, if you or your child have COVID-19, have been knowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if you have symptoms, stay home and turn off the porch light (the traditional signal that you won’t be coming to the door this year).
Editor’s Note: Watch local public health guidance for up-to-date suggestions for your community and Halloween celebrations.