Halloween during the COVID-19 Pandemic

            As we approach October 31, 2020 in just a few short days, children are organizing their costumes and anticipating all the treats and fun. This year we have faced unusual circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic and families are wondering how they can safely participate in this year’s spooky season. Tocci Law recommends the following considerations to help guide and protect your children and families this Halloween:

Preventing spread of COVID-19:

            Although Halloween typically coincides with the start of Flu season, chances of exposure during trick-or-treating and outside activities remained low. This year, we are facing unprecedented circumstances. COVID-19 remains a serious risk. Traditional Halloween activities can result in high-risk exposure to the coronavirus. Nevertheless, it is possible to enjoy Halloween so long as we take proper precautions to avoid transmission of the virus.

The following activities that are low risk to spreading the virus:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them;
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends;
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space;
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance;
  • Hosting a virtual Halloween costume contest;
  • Playing a Halloween movie with people in your household;
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.

            If you choose to trick-or-treat, remember to bring a mask for you and your children. Hand sanitize frequently if possible.  Limit the number of people you and your children encounter. Practice social distancing and wear a mask if you are less than six feet from people not in your household.  Beforehand, ensure that your child’s face mask does fit comfortably over your child’s costume.  Children are more likely to wear a mask properly and consistently if it is comfortable on their face and ears and does not restrict their breathing.  Avoid an ill-fitting mask: if it is too tight over a costume, your child could have trouble breathing; alternatively, if the mask is too loose or falling off, it defeats the purpose. Try to make mask wearing fun. When dressing up, incorporate the mask into the costume by purchasing one of similar color or style. Opt for a face mask that is part of the costume in lieu of a costume mask. Avoid trick-or-treating at a home where the candy is not left outside.  The less contact you have with people, the less likely you are to contract COVID-19. Wash your hands when you return home with hot soapy water for at least twenty-seconds.  Experts advise that we do not need to sanitize each piece of candy before eating. Instead, experts recommend washing your hands prior to eating your treats (which is a smart practice every time you eat).

            At your home, it is safe to leave candy outside for the trick-or-treaters.  Creating individual bags of candy instead of leaving a bowl of candy can reduce the transmission of germs from hands into the bowl. If you wish to open the door, be sure to wear a mask. You may prefer to avoid answering the door for people who are not wearing masks.  If you want to chat with parents and neighbors who stop by, maintain social distancing. When trick-or-treaters leave, wash your hands. 

The activities you may wish to avoid this Halloween:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating, where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door;
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors (if you do, wear a mask!);
  • Touring indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming;
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household;
  • Visiting an area in a highly infected community.

            No matter what you choose to do this Halloween, have fun and be safe. Remember to take the necessary precautions that have now become our new reality. Wear a mask whenever you are near people, wash your hands often, and practice social distancing, even when outdoors. It is also smart to bring hand sanitizer along with you to use after touching your face or eyes, frequently touched surfaces, objects, and other people. When you return home, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. The idea is to enjoy yourself without exposing you and your family to unwanted health implication.

            All of us at the Law Offices of Jennifer G. Tocci, P.C., wish you a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!