The pandemic is changing the way we celebrate Halloween this year
The pandemic is changing the way we celebrate Halloween this year. While the traditional way of trick-or-treating is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physicians on the Doximity network are discussing modifications to allow everyone to safely celebrate their favorite spooky holiday while minimizing the risk of being exposed to or spreading the virus.
Here are the top five safety tips to share with your patients as they make plans this year:
1. Keep Your Distance- This may be an obvious safety tip but it is arguably the most important. – stay six feet apart from anyone outside your household bubble. You’d be surprised how often we neglect this rule when we get excited. This is especially true for young children. Don’t get caught up in the moment and remind others to stay at least six feet away from anyone who is not in your household when engaging in Halloween fun.
2. Your Costume Mask Is NOT a Substitute For a Cloth Mask– Remember that a costume mask is not a proper substitute for a cloth mask when it comes to protecting yourself and others against the spread of COVID-19. Protective masks should be two or more layers of fabric, cover both the mouth and nose, and have no gaps when fitted around the face. This year opt for a costume that incorporates a cloth mask as part of the ensemble. Safety first!
3. Wash Your Hands Consistently – Whatever your plans are, be sure to have a travel-sized hand sanitizer with you that has at least 60% alcohol. Once you and your household members get home from your festivities, be sure everyone washes their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before you consume any treats. Sanitize your hands between houses if you come into contact with anything other than your own candy bag.
4. Offer COVID-Friendly Candy Bags: If your household plans to give out candy this year, pre-pack individual treat bags for young children to “grab-n-go” outside your door. If you still want to enjoy visitors stopping by, use a long-handled grabbing tool to pass candy while staying socially distant.
5. For Those Who Are High-Risk, Make Halloween Fun At Home: Traditional Halloween activities are fun, but if you or your children are considered high-risk for contracting COVID-19, please consider hosting a safe celebration at home. There are plenty of fun alternative ways to get in the Halloween spirit, including:
· Host a social-distant pumpkin carving contest at home or in your yard.
· Enjoy decorating your home for Halloween with other household members.
· Plan a “spooky” candy scavenger hunt with candy hidden throughout your home.
· Get out the popcorn (or candy corn) and turn on your favorite Halloween thrillers.
While many communities offer guidelines for trick-or-treating and festivities, it’s important for families to navigate Halloween based on their own risk factors and concerns, and physicians need to share talk about this with your patients.
Remember, Halloween should be spooky, not scary, so share these tips with your patients to ensure they have a safe, fun-filled holiday.
Peter Alperin, MD, is vice president at Doximity.