Here are a few tips about how to handle Halloween during COVID-19:
I was going to give a very scientific explanation about the risks associated with Fall/Halloween activities. But then my “human” side weighed in. So I would say this is an opinion piece from a mom who loves the holidays but who’s also an epidemiologist during a global pandemic…
Don’t cancel Halloween. We have all been through enough this year. Buy those costumes, go to the pumpkin patch, carve pumpkins, decorate your house, spike the apple cider, and give out candy. Do this all with a VERY important caveat in mind… be smart and be creative.
1. Wear a darn mask if you go to the pumpkin patch. Sanitize hands before and after touching pumpkins. Don’t touch your face. Skip the hayride with strangers, but go for the outdoor corn maze if it’s not crowded. If people are screaming in a haunted maze, keep your distance even more.
2. Don’t allow your kid to go with a big trick-or-treat gang this year. Keep it to a friend or two. Make sure they all have masks. Don’t let them eat candy on the road. When the kids are “sorting candy” after and you look to steal a piece, maybe wipe the wrappers down in one sweep. Don’t make it a big deal.
3. If you’re handing out candy, be creative. Wash your hands before touching candy. Don’t allow kids to reach in a candy bowl. In fact, no need to hand directly to kids at all. I’ve seen people making PVC pipes from their window so kids can be on the other end to grab candy. Don’t let kids bunch at your door, maybe make a one-way path for kids as you sit outside with a candy fishing pole.
4. Skip the big indoor party. Instead, get together with a few friends for a backyard bonfire. Instead of buffet style, have one person serve plates of food to everyone. Don’t forget the wine.
And, for the love of everything, if you have a diagnosis, symptoms, or recently exposed to someone with COVID19, skip this year.
This pandemic is not new anymore. We know what works. The only thing we can do, as epidemiologists, is make you aware that there is STILL a pandemic. There is STILL COVID19 risk, at differing levels, for all activities. It’s your turn to be smart, be creative, and weigh those risks to protect yourself, your family, and the community around you WHILE enjoying Fall at the same time.
Data Source: I created this infograph using recently published CDC guidelines. I thought it may be easier to digest than all the text on their website: https://www.cdc.gov/…/daily-life-coping/holidays.html