How to Trick-or-Treat Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic
October 26, 2020
Is There Trick-or-Treating in 2020? Or Has COVID Canceled It?
Halloween is coming up on Saturday and as with most anything else this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional Halloween activities are going to look a lot different than they have in years past. So far, COVID has not canceled trick-or-treating activities in Colorado, and according to our medical experts, it still can be done, as long as you are doing it safely and correctly in the COVID age.
The main thing to remember about Halloween this year is that large group gatherings or house parties should be avoided at all costs to stop the spread of the virus as we are seeing an uptick in numbers of cases. If you live in Colorado, remember to follow the State of Colorado and specifically your county's latest Safer at Home Order, which in most cases right now, limits the size of gatherings to less than 10.
Safe Trick-or-Treating Tips During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Denver Health Chief Medical Officer and infectious disease expert Connie Price, MD said that there are a lot of good things about trick-or-treating this year when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19, namely that the activity takes place mostly outside. However, there are some important guidelines to follow to keep you and your family safe.
First, Dr. Price advises only going trick-or-treating with the children who live with you in your household. Children should also stay in their own neighborhood and practice social distancing when approaching a home or other groups of trick-or-treaters.
Secondly, if you are wearing a costume mask, please note that these are not a good substitute for your child's regular cloth mask face covering. It is also not a good idea to wear a cloth face covering underneath a Halloween costume mask, because it may make it difficult for your child to breathe. Instead, make the normal face covering a part of the rest of your Halloween costume. And Dr. Price said to make sure you keep the face covering on whenever you are within six feet of anyone else.
Tips for Those Accepting Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween During the Coronavirus Pandemic
For those who are inviting trick-or-treaters to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not a good idea to answer the door and hand out candy as in years past. Instead, consider setting out pre-packaged treats, spaced apart on a table set out in your driveway or at the edge of your yard. If you choose to set out a bowl of candy, please put a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby and encourage the children to clean their hands before grabbing candy.
"To those accepting trick-or-treaters, do what you can to keep the crowds away from your door, and try to social distance them," said Dr. Price. "For parents, educate our trick-or-treaters to stay away from others when they are approaching a house."
Can You Catch COVID-19 From Halloween Candy?
There is little concern with COVID-19 being transmitted by things like pieces of candy or packages, according to Dr. Price. "It really is mostly that person-to-person contact, so focus on preventing that," said Dr. Price.
Unless someone has sneezed or coughed on the candy, the risk of spreading COVID-19 is very low. For peace of mind, parents can simply rub the outside wrappers with an alcohol wipe.
According to Dr. Price, the bottom line when it comes to trick-or-treating this year is, "keep it outside, keep people spaced apart and I think you can do this safely."
Denver Health infectious disease physician Cory Hussain, MD offers more guidance on safe Halloween celebrations in this 5280 Magazine article.
For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic and Denver Health's role, visit DenverHealth.org/Coronavirus.