(WKBN) – Halloween is Saturday but it’s going to look a little different this year. Local health experts are sharing tips to help keep your family safe.
This year continues to look like one we’ve never seen before — and trick-or-treating will change, too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t said kids can’t trick or treat, but it has released guidelines on how to do it safely.
On top of hand sanitizer and regular handwashing, there are a few other things to keep in mind before you and your kids head out for candy.
Don’t wear a plastic costume mask over your cloth or medical mask because it will restrict breathing. Instead, try wearing a cloth mask that’s Halloween-themed or goes with your costume. The CDC also says a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
If you’re passing out candy, the CDC and Mercy Health recommend putting individually-wrapped candy bags at the end of your driveway. That way, you’ll be able to stay socially distant from trick-or-treaters.
There are high-risk activities the CDC is asking you to avoid altogether, such as parties and large gatherings.
They’re not so much worried about handing off candy to another person. The real concern is people being close to each other.
“Congregating in large groups, we know, does increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 so the biggest thing we want to try and remember when we’re out and about is to keep your group small,” said Caitlin Spillman, with Mercy Health. “Keep together with your group, try not to intermingle with other trick-or-treaters to keep you and your family safe.”
Try to keep your distance as you move from house to house as well.
The CDC recommends washing your hands after you get back home from trick-or-treating.
If you have any symptoms or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, you should not participate in trick-or-treating or passing out candy at all. You might also choose to skip trick-or-treating if you have preexisting health conditions or are at higher risk for COVID-19.
With all of the COVID-19 protocols in place, don’t forget the normal safety tips for trick-or-treating.
Make sure your kids are wearing some kind of reflective clothing.
“General safety rules still do apply this Halloween,” Spillan said. “A lot of times, trick-or-treating does kind of go into the evening hours where there is less visibility so, absolutely, I would agree with continuing to allow kids to wear glow necklaces, having them carry around glow sticks.”
If there’s a sidewalk, use that instead of walking on the street. Make sure your kids know the rules of the road ahead of time, including how to cross the street and use crosswalks.
Drivers on Halloween night should slow down and keep their eyes on the road. Put your phone down and avoid any distractions while behind the wheel.
If you and your family don’t feel safe this Halloween, there are still fun things you can do at home. Carve pumpkins, watch Halloween movies, have your own family costume party or even a Halloween treat scavenger hunt!
More information from the CDC on Halloween safety during the COVID-19 pandemic