The COVID-19 pandemic has adjusted every aspect of our lives, from how we attend school to how we interact with our friends and family. Naturally, the question on many people’s minds is the upcoming holiday of Halloween. How do we trick-or-treat without getting tricked by COVID?
The answer is simple: we adjust. Like how we’ve adjusted with everything in our lives. Halloween can be as just as safe as any other activity we are doing right now and that comes down to the basic principles most are adopting right now. We must wear masks (even under our Halloween masks), we have to social distance as much as possible, and we must practice good hand hygiene.
For parents of children who want to trick-or-treat, there is hope. There’s lots of it actually. The desire to go out and get candy from all your neighbors is perfectly valid and with a few small changes, you can make the most of the event. Firstly, anyone out trick or treating should wear a face mask. This does not mean just wearing a mask that goes with the Halloween costume. This means wearing your everyday facemask underneath your Halloween costume mask. Many masks that go with Halloween costumes do not have the necessary protective levels to operate on their own, especially those made with rubber like many monster masks. It is imperative that you or any trick-or-treaters with you wear a mask. Additionally, it would be wise to only trick-or-treat with those in your immediate household. Yes, children might want to trick-or-treat with their friends but it’s your job to explain to them why that just cannot happen this year for any extended period of time. If your children see some of their friends, it’s perfectly okay to let them stop and chat but social distance must be maintained. The research on children catching COVID-19 was lacking due to schools being closed but we know now that the myth that children are immune is entirely untrue.
For those giving out candy on Halloween night, there are plenty of adjustments to be made to make sure everything is safe. Consider separating candies out into plastic baggies and allowing them to take one in lieu of handing candy out. This is to prevent cross-contamination and is a vital tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on Halloween night. As far as interacting with trick-or-treaters, it is recommended you stay on one side of the door and greet them through the glass. If this is not an option for you, it is perfectly acceptable to have a table set up in an open-air part of your yard or on the sidewalk, but you should stay behind the table. Measures to prevent the spread work individually but they work in increasing magnitudes when we do them in conjunction.
Lastly, for adults who want to take in the communal experience enjoyed in previous years, please do not. Unless you plan on having a small gathering (2-8 people at the max) with social distance and adequate hand sanitizer, please do not host a Halloween party. This will only end badly. Someone at your party will get COVID-19. It’s not even about the preventative measures at that point. It’s about amount of time spent in proximity. A typical party lasts upwards of two hours and unless you have a professional-grade air circulation system, you’re basically offering up a breeding ground for COVID-19. It will be tough but consider hosting a virtual gathering over the various platforms. Zoom is a great option because you can breakout into smaller groups. If virtual is not your style, small gatherings with appropriate measures can be hosted outside.
Halloween will certainly look a lot different this year and that’s okay. The holiday wasn’t the fun part, we were. We just need to get a little creative and the spooky season will be blast.