Don’t Ignore Halloween This Year… Just Play It Safe

News media have been focusing on the November 3rd presidential election recently. That’s as it should be. 

But we also have something to think about that will occur three days prior to the election.

Only two states are heading in the right direction regarding COVID-19 infections. So, Halloween could present some challenges.

How do we keep our children and grandchildren safe this year if they are trick or treating? Or if they are attending Halloween parties? And how do we keep ourselves safe if we’re answering the doorbell and handing out treats? 

Safety guidelines for kids

Today I want to share important guidelines for ways to enjoy Halloween safety this year. Some of these are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Let’s start with precautions for your children or grandchildren.

  • Make sure their costumes include a cloth mask.
  • A costume mask should be loose with openings for breathing if it’s worn over a cloth mask.
  • Tell them not to share the treats they collect with other kids. And not to take treats from other children.
  • Make sure they know not to have direct contact with anyone handing out treats door to door.
  • Tell them to try to stay at least six feet away from trick or treaters outside their group.
  • Make sure they know not to eat any of their treats until you’ve had a chance to examine them.
  • Have them stop back home periodically to rest and wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Don’t allow them to attend any indoor haunted house events. Or go on hayrides or tractor rides with people not living in your household.

Safety recommendations for you

You are probably past the trick or treating stage of your life. But you may wish to participate in the holiday by handing out treats to kids who approach your front door.

Here are some things you might want to consider to keep yourself and the children safe.

  • Wash your hands before handling treats you plan to distribute.
  • Wear a face mask if you are opening your door and handing out treats.
  • To be even safer, prepare individually bagged treats. Leave them on your front porch with a “Take One Only” sign.
  • Or, sit outside near your bagged treats to make sure kids aren’t grabbing more than they should. Assuming the weather cooperates.

Retain some ‘normalcy’

You may not feel comfortable allowing your children or grandchildren to trick or treat at all this year. Especially if the coronavirus risk level is high in your community. But don’t avoid the holiday altogether. That could be disappointing to them.

Dr. Robert Glatter is an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Here’s what he says. 

“Holidays help us maintain our sense of rituals and ‘normalcy’ during a not-so-normal time.

“Whatever we can do to keep holiday celebrations and traditions at least partially intact – while remaining safe – serves as a guidepost or compass during these turbulent times.” 

Alternative suggestions

Instead, carve pumpkins with the kids and display them on your front porch. Walk around the neighborhood with them today, admiring Halloween decorations.

Consider hiding treats around your home. Depending on the age of your children or grandchildren, they might enjoy that. 

They can look for them and place them in their bags while wearing costumes. Or  conduct a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt for them in your backyard. 

Host a Halloween movie night. Visit a corn maze, pumpkin patch or apple orchard together. 

COVID-19 has changed everything in our lives. But it doesn’t have to eliminate all our fun.

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