It’s been a rough and unexpected year for everyone. Working from home, Zoom schooling, mass business closures, and the absence of concerts and sporting events are things nobody could have predicted. Now, Halloween is on the horizon and we have to handle it cautiously. Can children still get excited about dressing up and collecting candy from houses around the neighborhood, or do they have to give up Halloween?
According to health experts, people should avoid Halloween parties, events, haunted houses, and trick-or-treating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement that said that Halloween activities are high risk. That being said, choosing costumes, going to costume parties, and running around the neighborhood shoving handfuls of candy in their faces are things that every child looks forward to on Halloween. So what can you do?
How Can You Get Spooky While Being Safe?
Halloween is a billion-dollar industry with month-long celebrations and events that everyone enjoys. It’s not cancelled because Halloween merchandise is readily available in almost every major store. The economy would take a major hit if Halloween was in fact cancelled. So you can get your spooky on as long as you’re safe about it. From infectious disease specialists to epidemiologists, their primary recommendation is to avoid indoor gatherings. You can have reduced capacity outdoor gatherings, so long as you practice social distancing and wear masks. You can find other, safe ways to enjoy Halloween below.
Tips For Trick-or-Treaters:
If you do plan to trick-or-treat this year, it’s imperative that everyone wears a facial covering. Note: a costume mask is not a facial covering. Children can wear gloves when they get candy, especially if it’s from a community bowl that people leave outside the house (a common thing you’ll see this year). Parents should also carry hand sanitizer to minimize germ accumulation on their children’s hands. You can wipe down candy wrappers if you want, but it isn’t necessary to sanitize every wrapper. It is imperative, though, to make sure hands are clean before opening candy to eat. People who hand out candy can designate entry and exit paths, and they can also leave small sandwich bags of candy to avoid all hands digging in the same candy bowl. Lastly, try to keep a six-foot distance between others when possible.
Virtual Costume Parties:
No, this isn’t as fun as an in-person costume party, but it’s nice that we have the technology to bring us together while we’re apart. Use video chats to have an online party with friends or family and show off your costumes. You can play games or simply enjoy the company. We highly suggest dancing to “Monster Mash,” no matter what you do. If you have a large outdoor space to gather with 10 people or less, be smart about it. Wear face coverings, maintain your distance, and wash your hands after touching high-touch areas.
This is a safe, family-oriented Halloween activity that doesn’t require a massive gathering. If you typically have a pumpkin carving party, you can always do it virtually, but it’s also fun to just keep it in the family or household. The only safety note is to be careful during the actual carving process. If you’re extra resourceful and seeking a nutritional boost, separate the pumpkin seeds from the meat and roast them. Roasted pumpkin seeds make for a perfect healthy snack.
Scary Movie Night:
Whether your favorite Halloween movie is Ghostbusters, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Exorcist, Friday the 13th, Hocus Pocus, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, get in the Halloween spirit and have a scary movie night. Consider dressing up as your favorite characters from the movie! If you want to get out of the house for a Halloween movie night, many cities are offering drive-in Halloween movie events. Safety measures are in place for everyone to enjoy the movie from the comfort of their vehicle.
Halloween is an enjoyable time of year, but you have to plan ahead for whatever you decide to do, especially if it involves populated, public areas. First and foremost, assess your own risk. If you are over the age of 65 or you have preexisting health conditions, it’s not wise to open your door for trick-or-treaters or go out to public events. If you want to walk around the neighborhood, be sure to keep your distance and wear a mask. Lastly, we have to reiterate that a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth facial covering. The only exception is if the mask contains more than two layers of breakable fabric over the nose and mouth.