Halloween Around the CDC Guidelines on Trick or TreatingOctober 20, 2020 3:49 pm
In a year full of disruptions, people, especially children are craving normalcy. What could be more normal than Halloween-as-usual? Trick-or-treating, haunted houses, costume parties, and parades were all supposed to be epic this year, as Halloween falls on a Saturday night AND is literally once in a blue moon because it will be the second full moon of October. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the top questions that parents are asking health professionals is, “Is it safe to celebrate Halloween this year?”
Our answer is a resounding “maybe.” If you and your kids are relatively healthy and you participate in activities that are considered lower-risk, then there is no reason to sit out Halloween. With just a few tweaks and changes, you can safely enjoy most of the events associated with this holiday. In order to understand how to celebrate the holiday safely, it is important to understand the degree of risk. There is almost no way to be risk-free for getting COVID, but some behaviors are known to be low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk. Avoiding medium-risk and high-risk behaviors helps you safely celebrate.
In the video below Dr. Arti Patel, medical director of Central Jersey Urgent Care Green Brook shares safe activities families can do on Halloween and what activities to avoid.
Just as we have been doing for most of 2020, you want to practice good hygiene practices, social distance, avoid large groups, and wear masks covering your mouth and nose.
You can incorporate all of these into normal trick-or-treating:
Costumes should incorporate regular masks (costume masks do not provide the same protection)
Travel in small groups composed of people in their bubble (which usually means people in the same household or a small social group.)
Do not approach doorways with other large groups
Do not approach people handing out candy unless they are also wearing masks
Bring hand sanitizer and use it frequently
If you are handing out treats, here’s a few ways you can ensure its safe for everyone:
Do not place them in a communal bowl
Make sure you are wearing a mask
Mark your sidewalk for social distancing
If possible set it up so that treats are not given out in crowded doorways
As for some other Halloween favorites, think hard about what the activity involves to assess the risk. Haunted houses, where screaming people are crowded together, are a high-risk activity that should be avoided. Big Halloween parties are a bad idea, but small gatherings of groups of 10 people or fewer are lower-risk as long as they do not include Halloween favorites like bobbing for apples. Drinking alcohol is not a great idea, not because alcohol, itself, increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission, but because it lowers inhibitions and alters judgment, which can lead to some riskier behaviors.
Like everything else in 2020, Halloween will be different this year. However, if you incorporate a few common-sense changes into your Halloween plans, there is no reason that you cannot have a safe and fun holiday!
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This post was written by CJ Urgent Care of NJ