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How to safely enjoy trick-or-treating during COVID-19 pandemic

With Halloween on a Saturday this year, Dr. Victoria Regan, pediatrician and vice president at Women’s & Children’s Service Line with Memorial Hermann, worries more people will be out celebrating and potentially lead to a super spreading event.

However, nobody wants to cancel the fun of trick-or-treating.

So, Dr. Regan gives her tips (with CDC guidance) on how to safely collect and distribute candy:

WEAR MASKS

“The number one rule this year is going to be making sure everyone is wearing their mask,” said Dr. Regan.

Costume masks do not count as face coverings.

“That’s not going to give us enough protection. You also don’t want to wear the costume mask over the regular mask,” Dr. Regan explained. “It can interfere with breathing and the air you are exchanging the flow of oxygen from your mouth into a trapped area that may be harming you as well.”

SPREAD CANDY APART ON TABLE OR SIDEWALK

Don’t allow kids to grab out of the same candy bowl.

Spread out the candy on a table, the sidewalk, or have goodie bags lined up for easy grab and go.

OPT FOR THESE SAFER ACTIVITIES INSTEAD

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

For the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, many traditional activities could be considered high risk like gathering with family, sharing meals and singing.

The CDC recommends to keep the group small and stay outdoors. Which means, the tradition of visiting graves should also be OK as long as you keep your distance.

PUMPKIN PATCHES

Pumpkin patches around town are taking extra safety precautions like hand sanitation stations and spreading out the activities.

Haunted houses are also social distancing guests and limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time.

In scenarios where there might be screaming (like haunted houses or scary movies) extend that six-foot social distancing rule.

“Because you are expelling your saliva that you would with normal speaking, you are increasing the amount of virus if you are a carrier,” Dr. Regan said. “Even with the mask on, just because not everyone’s mask is as effective, more forceful breathing sometimes respiratory droplets get through that mask.”