Autumn 2020 seems like it was here just the other day. Masks were mainstream and the scariest part of Halloween was potential COVID-19 infection. For that reason, that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) advised against door-to-door trick-or-treating. With climbing vaccination rates and reduced COVID-19 cases, could trick-or-treating be safe this year?
Various health experts don’t advise gathering in large crowds this year, but they do expect kids to enjoy some semblance of normalcy this Halloween. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that children can enjoy a safe, fun Halloween this year. That means one thing and one thing only: ready your buckets because trick-or-treating is on!
Given that trick-or-treating is an outdoor activity and many children over the age of 12 are getting vaccinated, Fauci considers it a safe activity. Children under the age of 12 already spend time together on the playground and in the classroom at school. Trick-or-treating doesn’t pose an additional risk to them, according to hygienists and clinical professors. There is one variable, however, and it’s the door-to-door interaction with strangers. Nobody can know how safe other people are, but experts want to assure people that being outside significantly reduces the rate of infection. Plus, there are several steps you can take to stay safe while collecting candy.
Avoid Indoor Trick-Or-Treating
In colder areas of the country, it’s common for parents to take children to trick-or-treat in malls, or indoors at an apartment building. The reality is that these places do not have great ventilation, which puts younger children, or the unvaccinated people, at risk. To limit your risk of COVID-19, it’s best to focus your efforts on outdoor candy collection. If the only option is to trick-or-treat indoors, it’s best to wear a mask.
Keep The Mask On
The great thing about Halloween costumes is that many come with masks! The only downside is that costume masks do not replace masks with three to five layers of fabric. Costume masks are not designed to limit the spread of viral particles. Parents can, however, get creative and make a face mask a part of a child’s costume. Surgeon costumes, anyone? It’s also possible for children to wear masks under their costume masks, but parents should make sure children can breathe comfortably.
Inspect Treat Before Indulging
It’s hard to resist a bag or bucket full of candy when you are a child. Some adults have that same problem! Try to feed your child(ren) a large meal before you venture out to trick-or-treat in order to reduce the urge to savagely consume candy. Upon arriving home from a successful night, discard any candies that have torn packaging, or ones that don’t have a seal. As a general safety measure unrelated to COVID-19, inspect labels if your child suffers from food allergies.
Keep Hands Clean
Between railings, fences, candy, and the other things kids may come in contact with on Halloween, it’s important to keep hands clean. Since you’ll be out with children away from soap and water, keep hand sanitizer at the ready. It’s not necessary to sanitize after every house you visit, but every once in a while is beneficial. The risk of contracting COVID-19 via candy wrappers is very low, but keeping hands clean decreases the risk even further. Additionally, experts advise that children wash their hands before they eat some of the candy they picked. This reduces the risk of ingesting any germs they picked up while trick-or-treating. You don’t have to quarantine the candy, by the way.