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In just three days is one of my favorite holidays of the year! I love costumes, weather, and taking my kids trick-or-treating. Of course, in MY younger days, I was more into tricking than treating, but that’s another story. As a parent, I too struggle with trying to keep some normalcy in my children’s lives during the pandemic. We all want them to have fun and feel as safe as possible, and what better way than continuing with our annual holiday traditions. With just a few tweaks, you and your family can still have a great Halloween weekend! Below is a summary of the CDC guidelines for a safe and fun Halloween:

Safer trick-or-treating
  • Avoid direct contact with other trick-or-treaters – keep your groups small and avoid crowding at doorways with other groups
  • Try handing out pre-bagged treats – This may help reduce contact and spread of viruses.
  • This isn’t a CDC recommendation, but I recommend that instead of letting kids take treats from a bowl, those handing out treats should drop them into the kid’s Halloween bags/buckets
    • For kids, consider instructing them to simply open their bags or present their buckets for the candy instead of reaching into a bowl that everyone else will be reaching into.
  • Wear a mask while handing out the treats – the CDC recommends making your regular cloth mask part of your costume. It advises against using a Halloween mask as a Covid-19 mask or wearing a cloth mask under a Halloween mask as it may impair breathing
  • Wash hands before and after you go trick-or-treating (or hand out treats), and before you dive into all those goodies. Use hand sanitizer periodically while outside.
  • Again, my recommendation – Trunk-or-treats can be a fun way to do Halloween, but they tend to be bunched up. I suggest spreading them out in a larger parking lot to allow for better social distancing. Continue to follow the above guidelines.
Alternative Activities
  • Pumpkin decorating/carving – We did this with our Cub Scouts last week and had a blast! Painting them is easier and less messy, and the pumpkins last much longer. A fun tip I learned from a creative scout: turn the pumpkin on the side and use the stalk as a nose!
  • Halloween walking minus trick-or-treat – This recommendation might not sound as fun, but if you still want to enjoy the sites and sounds and avoid the risk that comes with exchanging treats, the CDC recommends simply taking a walk (or drive) in well-decorated neighborhoods to enjoy the decorations from a distance
  • Halloween hunt – Think Easter, but with Halloween treats instead. This can be done at your home with your kids
  • Outdoor Halloween party – Invite your neighbors or friends over to show off their costumes, view a movie on a screen outside, or do a scavenger hunt, all while following the recommendations above

Be sure to follow other safety tips as well such as reflective costumes, flashlights for visibility, wearing costumes with good visibility and movement, etc. Happy Halloween!

Jarrod Beachum, PA-C

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