The coronavirus pandemic is spooky enough and we’re used to wearing a different kind of mask this year, but parents want to know, “Is it safe for kids to go trick or treating?”
Local authorities are grappling with the Halloween safety question, too. Dr. Brian Hess, an emergency physician with Abrazo Health, offers some creative tips for families.
“There are alternatives to keep everyone safely at home and still enjoy the holiday, like virtual costume parties via family Zoom calls or household Halloween movie nights,” Dr. Hess said.
“Virtual parties can be planned like any other with decorations and backdrops for the video call, children can wear their costumes, enjoy snacks and even play games like scavenger hunts or virtual bobbing for apples. The whole family can participate, even friends and family members in other cities. A quick web search or your local party store can help with ideas,” he said.
Halloween movie nights can be as tame or scary as you want them to be, from family classics to real nail biters. Dr. Hess added that many Halloween movies suitable for all ages are showing on over-the-air, streaming and popular cable TV channels.
Dr. Hess noted that trick or treating increases risk for getting or spreading coronavirus and flu. The best plan is to stay home, practice physical distancing, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also continues to stress physical distancing, hand washing and wearing mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
If you’re venturing out on Halloween, the CDC offers tips to take to help make trick or treating safer:
• Keep six feet of distance and avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
• Wash hands before handling treats.
• Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
• Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.
• Always wear a mask, and remember a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
• Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Parents supervise young children using hand sanitizer.
Inexpensive healthy alternatives, such as stickers, bubbles, crayons and play dough bring a fun twist to Halloween treats. Glow sticks, juice boxes, mini bottles of water and goldfish in factory-packaged snack bags are another option.
Make sure that masks fit correctly and costumes aren’t a tripping hazard. Makeup can be fun, but kids may have sensitive skin and break out in itchy rashes and hives from makeup, Dr. Hess said.
“Halloween is still a great time for families to bond, but it’s obviously going to be a little different this year. Remember physical distancing, wear an appropriate mask, and keep washing or sanitizing your hands. With some creativity, precautions and appropriate supervision, everyone can enjoy a howling good time,” he said.