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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

October 22, 2020
Six Tips for Celebrating Halloween during the Pandemic

Trick-or-treating is a favorite tradition of kids and parents alike, but it’s extra tricky this year. How can we indulge in our favorite Halloween traditions (and give kids a dose of normalcy) while keeping everyone safe amid COVID-19?

We’ve compiled guidance from the CDC and added a few of our own tips and tricks to enjoy Halloween in 2020. Like everything else, celebrations will need to look a little different this year, but there’s still plenty of room for spooks, treats and family fun.  

  1. Assess your Risk

If someone in your home has medical risk factors, we recommend that you opt-out of in-person festivities and enjoy fun alternatives, instead. Likewise, if you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, steer clear of all in-person celebrations while you quarantine.

  1. Consider Low-Risk Festivities

Many Halloween traditions – like haunted houses, door-to-door trick-or-treating or parties with people outside of your household – are considered high risk for spreading viruses, but there are dozens of other fun activities you and your family can enjoy. Consider picking pumpkins at an outdoor patch, carving jack-o-lanterns, setting up a scavenger hunt or enjoying a spooky movie at home.  

  1. Know your Neighborhood

You may also want to consider alternatives to trick-or-treating if you live in a community with a high infection rate or if you’re concerned people in your neighborhood are not following guidelines for masking and social distancing. Also, note that the risks are higher in a crowded apartment building than in a sprawling suburb with single-family homes.

  1. Aim for Safer Trick-or-Treating

If you take your kids trick-or-treating, aim to be as safe as possible with these extra precautions:

  • Wear masks (the right way): Do not use a costume mask as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it’s made of two or more layers of breathable fabric, covers your child’s mouth and nose and leaves no gaps around the face. Likewise, a costume mask should not be worn over a cloth mask – this can make breathing difficult. Instead, incorporate a cloth mask into your child’s costume or choose a Halloween-themed mask.
  • Keep your (social) distance: Stay six feet away from other revelers and avoid congregating along sidewalks, driveways and doorways. In fact, we recommend trick-or-treating at houses where kids can help themselves to treats outdoors vs. knocking on doors to collect candy.
  • Sanitize often: Bring along hand sanitizer and use it liberally and frequently. Make sure you and your kids apply it after handling candy and other objects and take care to avoid touching other people.  
  • Wash hands before eating candy: Don’t let your kids eat candy while trick-or-treating. Wait until you get home and everyone has washed their hands.
  • Accompany your kids: Stick with your kids as you go from house to house to ensure they’re taking every possible precaution this year.
  1. Make Treats Available Outside

If you expect trick-or-treaters to visit your home, take these precautions to make it a safer experience for all:

  • Wash your hands first: Make sure your hands are clean before you handle any candy.
  • Set up an outdoor treat station: Fill a bucket or basket with individually packaged treats and set it up in your driveway or on the sidewalk in front of your house.
  • Abide by masking and social distancing guidelines: Wear your own Halloween-themed cloth mask and ensure you’re staying six feet away from others who stop at your home.
  1. Get a Flu Shot

Halloween is prime time for spreading influenza, too! This year, flu season will overlap with COVID-19, meaning two major respiratory viruses will be circulating in the community at the same time. The best way to protect yourself and your family is by getting a flu shot.

Learn more from Phoenix Children’s experts who were recently featured in The Washington Post.

CDC guidance for Halloween and other celebrations is updated frequently as the pandemic continues. Stay up to date here.

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