How to have a fun and safe Halloween this year

How to have a fun and safe Halloween this year

As a kid we are told not to go out after dark, to look both ways crossing the street, and to not talk to strangers. All of these rules are ignored on Halloween, of course with parents nearby.  But, we head out at dark in costume, crossing not just streets but entire neighborhoods, in search of strangers to give us candy. What makes Halloween special is that it is the one night a year the whole community heads out their front door or opens the door to strangers and neighbors alike. We share sweet treats with anyone that comes knocking. Yes, some focus on the scary side of Halloween and its less positive aspects, but I think we can view Halloween as a fun night to start a national season of giving. Giving away free candy that is! It sets the tone for the giving of the holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I wish more days could be like Halloween in that we would share what we have and open the door to hospitality. Unfortunately, the dangers of Halloween seem more significant this year. It’s more than just being careful and not eating unwrapped candy. We now have the challenge that community comes with risks of catching Covid-19. Being in contact with strangers comes with real concerns for all parents. But, kids have missed out on so much already this year. They’ve missed birthdays, time with friends, and in person learning at school. I think we can still have a fun and safe Halloween, so don’t let this holiday become a ghost.

“I can’t think of many things that haven’t changed this year,” says Kevin Kathrotia, M.D., COO of Millennium Neonatology who is dual-boarded in general pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine by the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Kathrotia confirms that, yes, he plans to let his own kids trick or treat this year as long as it’s permitted, but “not without a lot of modifications, and a lot of coaching from us.” Melissa Mills, Will There Be Trick-Or-Treating in 2020? Experts Weigh In

Read on for ideas on how to be safe when trick-or-treating and when passing out candy.

How to be safe trick-or-treating

Wear a mask. Many children will already be used to wearing a mask by now, but if your child is not get a cute one that matches their costume and practice wearing it now. “Consider costumes that allow a mask to be properly worn against the face to provide the best protection and allow hand hygiene to be performed regularly,” says Adam Karcz, director of infection prevention for Indiana University’s Riley Children’s Health. You don’t want to introduce a mask the night of Halloween and have your child refuse to wear it. Prepare ahead and you’ll be enjoying a fun, safe night of trick-or-treating. And don’t forget your mask too. Kids will be more likely to follow your example.

Bring hand sanitizer. While there is some evidence that Covid-19 doesn’t last as long on surfaces as previously thought, better safe than sorry.  Make sure any costume has easy access to hands, so kids aren’t touching things with gloves and then touching their face with those dirty gloves. Have hand sanitizer with you so you can all sanitize your hands after each house to minimize germs.

Consider limiting the number of houses you visit. Less interaction with people equals less potential exposure to germs. That doesn’t mean you have to stay home after taking reasonable precautions, but plan ahead. Map out a route and discuss how many homes you are comfortable with visiting. This way you don’t get out and then have to debate with your kids about visiting more houses. If kids know what to expect in advance it will be easier for them to accept that this year Halloween will look a little different.

How to safely pass out candy

Oriental Trading Driveway Table

Set up a table outside. By now we can probably agree that fresh air is safest to decrease the spread of germs. So instead of having kids come to your door, set up a table out front or in your driveway. This also gives you more room to be socially distant. Here are some cute ideas for decorating your table from Oriental Trading.

Bag candy individually for no contact hand out. I’ve ordered these cute little bags. Perfect for a few pieces of candy and you get enough you can share with a neighbor or two. They can be placed on your outside table spaced out so children are only touching their bag rather than sticking their hand into an entire bowl of candy. And you can keep your distance since candy is already portioned out and ready to grab.

Wear a mask. Not only is it recommended by the CDC along with social distancing, it’s just neighborly. If you want to make families feel comfortable coming out to trick-or-treat make sure you wear your mask too. Want something a little more festive? Check out these cute ides from Good Housekeeping.

Have a hand sanitizer pump bottle and sanitizing wipes. I know these items have been difficult to find but keep an eye out now and you should be able to pick them up when you are out and about. It’s a kind gesture to have a pump bottle for those that need it as they trick-or-treat. Also showing that you have sanitizing wipes and are using them to wipe the table after each child will show parents you are going above and beyond to care for their little ones safety.


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