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.
As of October 26, COVID-19 cases were on the rise in the Denver metro area and many experts have advised against traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating this year. If you do hope to do some form of trick-or-treating or treat collection, check for specific restrictions from local public health officials before you head out the door. No matter what you do, 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, even outside. 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 celebrate with.
- No sneaking treats. Instruct your children to not eat candy from their bag. 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 taking candy or candy bags. 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).
For more information on trick or treating safety, check with your local county or visit Covid19.colorado.gov.
Editor’s Note: Watch local public health guidance for up-to-date suggestions for your community and Halloween celebrations.