Ask the Expert: Halloween Amid the Pandemic
COVID-19 has affected a lot of fun social events this year, and Halloween is going to be no exception. However, there are plenty of safe ways to enjoy all the fun this holiday has to offer and prioritize your health and well-being. Dr. Kym Middleton is a Pediatric Hospitalist at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and has important tips for families celebrating Halloween during Covid-19.
Are Halloween Parties Safe?
Instead of large group gatherings, do a virtual costume party with your friends and family and have a costume contest! Or, get your neighbors involved and organize a costume social distancing parade or photo contest. Going for more of a chill night? Consider a Halloween-themed movie night and dress as your favorite characters! Many streaming services allow group watching, so your children can watch movies with their friends. For guidance on age appropriate movies, click this link.
Halloween is a perfect time for home crafts and activities such as pumpkin carving and decorating or making Halloween-themed treats. Be careful with sharp tools around the little ones and remember to not leave any sharp items unattended.
What About Outdoor Events and Activities?
Due to high transmission rates of COVID-19 through air droplets, we still recommend people avoid indoor events and large crowds. Instead, check out outdoor community activities such as pumpkin patches or parks.
Trick-or-treating is not recommended in large groups and avoid crowded porches. If you are giving out treats, consider lining up pre-packaged treat bags or non-edible treats (which are also great for those who have allergies). Trunk-or-treating is a great idea, too.
If you don’t feel comfortable going out, consider doing a candy hunt around the house or yard with family. Wherever you decide to go, make sure to bring hand sanitizer and wear your mask. While COVID-19 is less likely to spread through physical objects, it is recommended to wipe packages you collect or let them sit for a couple of days before devouring.
Masks & General Safety Advice
Halloween is an excellent time to incorporate masks, but costume masks do not replace recommended face coverings, unless the mask has multiple layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose snugly. Do not paint face masks because many paints have toxins that can be dangerous if inhaled.
Make sure your child’s costumes and shoes fit well to prevent tripping or getting caught in decorations or flames.
Don’t forget to check that treats have not been tampered with. If you will be out at dusk or night, be safe with reflective tape or lights and remind your kids about road safety around cars.
Whatever your Halloween plans are, remember, kids can get COVID-19 or other illnesses and spread lots of germs. Here are a few quick COVID-19-specific safety tips:
- Avoid large gatherings
- Social distance six feet apart
- Wash your hands
- Wear a COVID-19 appropriate mask
- Sanitize everything you get from strangers
Stay safe and have a spooktacular time! Remember, we are all in this together and you’re doing a great job!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Kym Middleton is a Pediatric Hospitalist at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children.
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