When you think of trick-or-treating safety during most years, you think about flashlights, reflective clothing and maybe worry about choking hazards. Last year Halloween was canceled in many places around the country. This year it’s back on for most of us. There are no widespread bans on trick-or-treating. For people at high risk for COVID-19, that can be a little nerve-wracking. Here are some tips for being safe this Halloween, so you don’t have a scary night!
If you want to greet trick-or-treaters but want to lower contact, stay outside. Of course, even in normal years, you don’t have trick-or-treaters come inside, but if you are concerned about your risk, stay outdoors completely to hand out candy or treats. You can wear a mask as well if that makes you more comfortable. And, if even that level of contact makes you feel unsafe, you can do contactless trick-or-treat goodies and leave them outside and just wave to kids.
Experts suggest having individual treats rather than a communal bowl that can spread germs. You can get creative and decorate a table for your goodie bags. Or you could make a socially distanced treat chute out of cardboard tubes! That way, you can give each child their candy from six feet away.
Sixty-eight percent of parents are planning on taking their kids trick-or-treating traditionally. If you have a child in your life that you’ll be taking trick-or-treating, you can make a mask part of their costume. Make sure it is a protective mask and not simply an aesthetic one. If trick-or-treating makes you uncomfortable, you can look for contactless options, like drive-through harvest festivals with goodie bags, that are happening this weekend.
The AARP says that vaccinated older people should feel safe handing out candy and accompanying kids who are trick-or-treating. They also point out that it is tough to catch COVID-19 from surfaces, so you are unlikely to become infected from touching candy. They do recommend only attending outdoor parties and wearing a mask if you attend an indoor Halloween party.
Remember that, outside of ghosts and ghouls, Halloween shouldn’t be scary! You should measure the risks yourself and decide what feels comfortable to you. If you want to sit this year out, that’s okay. Turn off the porch light and relax! Halloween will come around again next year. You can see your grandchildren’s or neighbors’ children’s outfits and move on. While experts say COVID-19 may never completely disappear, we should be in a place where everyone feels more comfortable by next year. And you will be ready to get back out there with the witches and goblins!