Local physicians encouraging families to celebrate Halloween at home; "This is not the time to relax"

Posted at 12:08 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 14:08:29-04

IDAHO — Instead of trick-or-treating and large costume parties, local physicians encourage families to find different ways to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic.

“With this virus and with some of the problems of how contagious this virus is and how easily it spreads between people what we want to do is change the way we celebrate Halloween from it being outdoors and large groups and close contact to a different approach,” said St. Luke's Children Medical Director, Dr. Kenny Bramwell.

Some safe low-risk activities they are encouraging families to do instead include:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins indoors with members of your household or outdoors, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends. Display for all to enjoy!
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space.
  • Having a scavenger hunt in and around your house or throughout the neighborhood while distancing.
  • Having a virtual costume contest or party.
  • Enjoying a movie night with people you live with.
  • Learning about other cultures’ celebrations, such as Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
  • Making a pinata and filling it with candy for your kids to swing at (maybe they’ll let you swing, too!).
  • Making and decorating spooky treats/sweets.

“We still want Halloween to be fun. We would just like you to consider ways to make Halloween a little different rather than it being large groups in close quarters try to come up with ways together with your children to make this safe and enjoyable,” said Bramwell.

“With the trends we are seeing right now; this is not the time to relax. We need to be careful we need to follow the tips that we are given from the CDC," said West Valley Medical Center Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Richard Augustus. “Trick-or-treating is a high-risk event I would not recommend it."

Here are some tips from the CDC to follow this Halloween:

  • Remember the 3 W’s: wash your hands, wear your mask, watch your distance.
  • Stick to small groups, preferably just family. Ask kids to stay as far away from people outside your household and to wear their masks inside and outside.
  • Do not use a costume mask as a substitute for a protective cloth mask unless it’s made of two or more breathable fabric layers that cover the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
  • Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. This can be dangerous, making it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • If sick or exposed to the virus, stay home, isolate, and not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
  • Any gathering should follow CDC guidelines and be appropriate for the level of spread in the community.
  • Establish ground rules ahead of time.
  • Don’t let kids dig around a candy bowl, touching multiple pieces. Ask them to choose one and stick with it.
  • Don't share or pass around props, toys, costumes, or candy bowls. Ask each child to hold onto their own candy bag.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and practice not touching your face.
  • Take a break, do a check-in, and give kids hand sanitizer between multiple homes. This is an opportunity to remove masks with clean hands in a safe spot away from others.
  • Put a bowl out on the sidewalk or end of the porch or make individual goodie bags for trick-or-treaters to take. Stay on the porch to see trick-or-treaters.
  • At the end of the night, disinfect any doorknobs, doorbells, buzzers, or other high-touch surfaces outside your home.
  • Put most of the candy away for the first three days that it's in your home. Maybe buy some candy ahead of time while you allow time to pass.