Halloween is almost here, and balancing safety and fun has always been crucial for the annual tradition of trick or treat. But this year, the pursuit of candy faces an unprecedented obstacle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although CDC guidelines discourage some typical Halloween festivities, there are ways to lessen the risks and still take part in this tradition.
“We think that the risks of contracting COVID-19 while trick or treating are relatively low if some basic safety guidelines are followed,” said Nikki Maurer, Executive Director of the Community Health Council at Lebanon City.
Following CDC guidelines, Maurer recommends homeowners set up a treat station and wave at kids from a distance. Thoroughly washing hands before handling treats and wearing a mask when distance cannot be maintained are also encouraged.
For trick-or-treaters, Maurer invites families to incorporate cloth masks into the costume. Kids not from the same household should be 6 ft. apart. Everyone should wash their hands when they return home and before they handle the treats. Carrying hand sanitizer is also advised.
These recommendations coincide with the Sept. 30 press release from the Mayor’s Office. This statement shares Maurer’s recommendations, as well as including other guidelines:
- Avoid large congregations, limit trick-or-treaters to groups of three or four friends wearing masks and socially distance while walking down the street.
- Set individual plastic bags on a table or candy bowl. Before and after preparing them, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If delivering candy in person, wear a cloth mask and thoroughly wash hands and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
- Masks should inhibit the spread of COVID, so do not substitute a cloth mask with a costume mask. Do not let kids wear both at the same time, as it could be hard to breathe. Consider a Halloween-themed cloth mask instead.
- Bring and use hand sanitizer often, having frequent breaks between homes at safe spots. This will allow to clean hands and give children an opportunity to rest from mask wearing. Regular cleaning hands is especially important if kids are likely to rub their eyes, pick their nose or put a finger in their mouth with dirty hands.
- Do not share props, toys, or candy bags with other trick-or-treaters.
Following the recommendation of the Police Chiefs Association, the Mayor’s Office has scheduled trick-or-treating for Lebanon City for Oct. 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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