It is safest to plan special events at home, using social media and other meeting platforms to connect with family and friends. As a reminder, if you think you have COVID-19 or are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person festivities and should not hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.
“Overall, indoor events will pose a greater risk as do larger crowds. Unfortunately, it’s best to pause on some of our fall favorites this year like haunted houses, hayrack rides or large festivals,” Robert Healy, Carle Health’s chief Quality officer said.
Carle Pediatrician Stefanie Schroeder, DO, offered some alternatives to replace those events.
“Pumpkin carving or painting or decorating can still help you feel festive while maintaining proper social distancing. You could even challenge your neighbors to a door decorating contest,” Dr. Schroeder said.
“Or, you could simply walk your neighborhood and count pumpkins, skeletons, bats or black cats you see along the way,” Dr. Schroeder said.
Many organizations are hosting virtual coloring or costume contests. For those who choose to participate in traditional trick-or-treating, follow these tips:
To distribute treats:
- Leave individually wrapped candy or treats on a table, on their front walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space that allows for at least 6 feet of social distance from your door.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before placing the treat on the table and when replenishing.
- Consider offering non-candy treats for those with allergies or with sensory disorders. Great alternatives include pencils, stickers, tattoos or bubbles.
- Wear your face covering. Be sure your mask doesn’t create breathing problems if worn under your costume. A costume mask, such as those worn for Halloween, is not a substitute for a face covering.
- Trick-or-treat with members of your household only and maintain 6-feet of distance from other trick-or-treaters at all times.
- Carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
- Wash your hands before consuming any collected candy and after a parent/guardian has discarded unwrapped candy.
While there is no hard and fast rule on what is best for families, there are many things to consider when making your plans to ensure your family remains as safe as possible during any celebration:
- COVID-19 cases in your community – Find information on the number of cases in your area on your health department website.
- The location – Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor ones. If indoors, keep air circulating by opening windows or doors.
- The duration – The longer time you spend together, the greater you risk an exposure.
- The number of people – More people equals an increased risk. Make every effort to reduce or limit contact between attendees.
- The locations attendees are traveling from – Your risk increases when attendees are coming from a larger geographic area such as other states or counties where cases are on the rise.
- The behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Seeing others who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, hand washing and other prevention behaviors pose more risk to exposing others at an event.
- Ask all attendees to follow preventative behaviors during the gathering – Reduce risk by asking all attendees to wear masks, social distance, and hand wash.
Categories: Staying Healthy