Expert Tips on Halloween Safety During COVID-19

Halloween will be different this year in the face of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against door-to-door trick-or-treating, costume parties, and indoor haunted houses, calling them “higher risk activities.” Instead, the CDC offers guidelines on how to be safe and healthy while still having fun with family and friends.

According to CNBC, healthcare experts have also personally altered their traditional plans for the holiday. “Halloween hasn’t been canceled, but it has to be adapted,” explained Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a Seattle-based pediatrician and blogger. Her neighborhood is hosting an outdoor scavenger hunt complete with costumes, social distancing, and masks.

Dr. Amy Cho, a Minneapolis-based emergency physician, plans to take her kids trick-or-treating but with a twist. They will only visit homes with lights on and take their treats from outdoor tables. Ditto, said Dr. Ashish Jha, adjunct professor of global health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, who will do the same with his 8-year-old. He recommends using hand sanitizer after putting hands in the candy bowl.

Many experts are planning to create pandemic pods with two or three other families that all agree to follow public health measures, according to CNBC. They can hang out in driveways, play games, and listen to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Socially distant costume contests are on tap for some experts. Dr. Roxana Daneshjou, a dermatologist from North Carolina and a Halloween “fanatic,” said her neighborhood is planning a parade to show off their costumes and decorations. She is also hosting a virtual costume contest online.

“The key is avoiding the three C’s,” said Bill Hanage, Ph.D., associate professor at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “That’s crowds, closed spaces, and close contact.” He also advised that parents have their children wash their hands before eating candy or leave it out for a day.

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