Celebrating Halloween this year doesn’t have to mean crying into an empty treat bag! The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges this year for any tradition that brings people together, but it’s important we find ways to honor these traditions while being careful to keep everyone safe. Halloween brings such joy to so many children, we wanted to offer a few “tricks” so your Halloween can still be a “treat”.
Halloween is the perfect opportunity to wear a mask! But be aware that Halloween costume masks are not a substitute for a cloth mask unless they are made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. Choose a costume that incorporates an appropriate mask, or decorate your mask to go with your costume (think whiskers, or a ghoulish grin).
For many, Halloween just isn’t the same without trick-or-treating. While walking home-to-home in random neighborhoods a little risky right now, it’s nothing a little creativity can’t get around. Children’s Hospital Colorado has some great out-of-the-box ideas for safe alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating. You can organize a “Trunk-or-Treat” if your child attends school or is sticking to socializing with a small group. Everyone can gather in a parking lot and the children go from car to car to collect candy while maintaining social distance. Another idea is to communicate with the neighborhood and have everyone put candy in individual containers such as paper cups or plastic bags, then line them up on the sidewalk or porch for the children to safely take. Whatever method you choose, plan a hands-off period of 48 to 72 hours before allowing your child (or you!) to dig in to the goodies. Studies have shown that COVID-19 can survive up to three days on some surfaces, which is an eternity for eager little trick-or-treaters. Consider having a small stash of candy on hand purchased in advance for kids to enjoy while they wait. And don’t forget to wash hands frequently, especially after handling candy or touching any foreign surfaces. Bring hand sanitizer along to use as you go.
But trick-or-treating is not the only way to celebrate Halloween. The CDPHE offers tips for alternative ways to celebrate based on where each community sits on the Colorado Dial Framework. As of now, Jefferson County is at Safer at Home Level 2: Concern. Here are a few ideas for celebrating safely from the CDPHE:
- Throw a neighborhood face-mask decorating party, with guests limited to 10.
- Go to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest, pumpkin patch, or corn maze.
- Have an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family and friends, with people wearing masks and spaced at least 6 feet apart. If screaming is likely (it is Halloween after all!), we advise greater distancing.
Regardless of a community’s level on the dial dashboard, people should not participate in any in-person activities, including handing out candy, if they:
- Are sick, especially with COVID-19 symptoms.
- Have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are currently in the quarantine period.
- Have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in the isolation period.
- People at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should think about the risks and benefits of activities they are considering.
Below are resources with lots of tips for safely enjoying the holiday. However you choose to celebrate, we wish you and your family a fun and safe Halloween.