These are Halloween safety tips, pre-pandemic. Make sure your child’s costume is nonflammable. Don’t let them eat candy that’s not in its original wrapper. Take a flashlight when you go trick-or-treating.
All still true. But with COVID-19 lurking, safety takes on epic importance this year.
Is it safe for kids to go trick-or treating? Is it safe to take candy from strangers during a pandemic? Is it safe to hand out candy? Is it safe to go to a Halloween party — indoors?
Can we do Halloween without getting COVID-19?
This is a Halloween season full of uncertainty.
If you’ve been paying attention, you already know what to do. It’s not magic. Avoid crowds, use good hand hygiene, stay away from big indoor parties and wear masks — the safety kind — even outdoors, in many cases.
You can keep many of your favorite Halloween traditions — but the coronavirus dictates caveats.
“It goes back to the basics,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control for the University of Kansas Health System.
“The message should be wear a mask if you are going out in public, even if you’re going to be outdoors, especially if there are going to be people around you that are not in your bubble or your household, such as at the pumpkin patch or the haunted houses.”
Costume shop owner Jerry Vest in Kansas City, Kansas, has his fingers crossed that Halloween won’t be cursed by coronavirus. The pandemic has nearly pounded his business, Have Guns Will Rent, into the ground. As health experts advise against large gatherings, especially indoor parties, will people even need costumes?
“I don’t know what it will look like. But here’s what I hope Halloween will look like,” said Dr. Angela Myers, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Mercy.
“I hope that as a community we all work really hard to wear a mask in public and stay out of mass gatherings and continue to be careful about decisions we make and the places we go so that we drive down our community rates, which are quite high right now.”