Like just about everything else this year, Halloween 2020 is bound to look a little different. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! As you make your Halloween plans, keep in mind that COVID-19 is still very much around and use these tips based on Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidance to plan a safe and fun holiday.
Limit activities that put you in close contact with others outside your household. Unfortunately, that means that you should avoid hayrides and haunted houses this year. Exercise caution when deciding to participate in trick-or-treat or other events. Try to choose events or attractions that are mainly outdoors and/or allow for physical distancing.
Avoid large in-person Halloween parties. Should you choose to hold a smaller party, limit attendance to 10 people or less. You should also hold the party in an outdoor area that allows for physical distancing. Avoid activities like bobbing for apples that may promote the spread of COVID-19.
Always wear a mask. No, not the spooky kind this year! Whenever you are around those outside your household you should wear a cloth mask or surgical mask to avoid spreading COVID-19. You can get creative and find face coverings that match your costume or are Halloween themed. Costume masks should not substitute a cloth mask and should not be worn over a cloth mask as it can make breathing more difficult. Children under two should not wear a mask.
Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water when you can. You should also carry hand sanitizer and use it often especially after coming into contact with high-touch surfaces and before and after eating.
Limit the number of houses you visit for trick-or-treat. Pick a few houses to stop at rather than visiting dozens. Remind your children to maintain six “spooky feet” apart when getting their treats and when walking from house to house. If you have small children, it may be best if you hold them bag for them and retrieve their candy for them. Try to refrain from having children grab their own treats from a common bowl or container or be sure to sanitize after.
Put collected candy aside for 48-72 hours before letting them go through their treats. It is believed that the virus cannot live longer than 72 hours on surfaces. Once the 72 hours have passed they can then enjoy the treats they collected and you have the comfort of knowing they are less likely to come in contact with COVID-19.
Have treats ready for them when you get home from trick-or-treat. Pick up your own bag of candy or other treats so your children have something safe ready for them to enjoy when you get home. Trick-or-treating leads to a monstrous appetite!
Sanitize candy wrappers before eating. You can choose to use sanitizing wipes to disinfect the outside of the candy wrappers when you arrive home if you do not let it sit out for 48-72 hours untouched. Remember to never wipe unpackaged food.
Avoid handmade items. Only allow children to eat factory-wrapped treats and do not accept homemade treats made by strangers.
Consider planning alternate types of events that allow for physical distancing. Think of ways you can adapt your Halloween traditions to better allow for physical distancing. Some ideas include:
- Drive through trick-or-treat. Children can wear costumes and face coverings and stay in the car while individuals spaced six feet or more apart pass out candy
- Drive by costume or car-decorating contests
- Leaving pre-packaged treats or friends and neighbors
- Decorate your house or host a neighborhood house decoration contest
- Hide treats for kids in your family and have a Halloween scavenger hunt
- Hold video conference costume parties or pumpkin decorating
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household or outside at a safe distance with neighbors and friends
- Organize a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
Consider your risk and the risk of your family members as well as local COVID-19 data. If you or someone you are in frequent contact with is at greater risk of complications if infected with COVID-19, take extra precautions. These include individuals with certain health conditions, women who are pregnant, and older adults. If you are unsure of your risk and what precautions you should be taking, contact your doctor. You should also keep in mind what color level the county is at as that will give you a sense of how much COVID-19 is spreading in our community.
As always, we wish you and your family a fun, safe, and Spooktacular Halloween 2020!
About the Authors
Dr. Aml Kelada, Dr. Elizabeth Olds, and Kathryn Falter, CPNP are all providers at Fisher-Titus Pediatrics in Norwalk. Fisher-Titus Pediatrics has same-day and next-day appointment availability and virtual visits. Existing patients can schedule online by visiting fishertitus.org/schedule.