Every year, millions of kids across the country look forward to dressing up, knocking on doors and celebrating Halloween with lots of candy. But this year, the pandemic is likely changing some of those celebrations.
So, is it still possible to celebrate Halloween this year?
"That's a great question. I'm not just a doctor, but I'm also a parent to three young boys who are of trick-or-treating age. So, it's certainly a question that gets asked a lot in my wife's pediatric practice, as well,” said Dr. Kenny Banh, an emergency room physician and assistant dean of undergraduate medical education at UCSF-Fresno. “I have to say, I don't want to give a blanket answer, because it really depends on where you are and what the numbers are."
Dr. Banh says there are ways to trick-or-treat this Halloween, but you first have to look at your local city and county ordinances.
"There’s simple things of just maintaining the guidelines. How do you do a mask? There are ways to incorporate masks in a costume and make sure we make or get costumes with masks integrated into them and trying to maintain social distancing,” suggested Dr. Banh. “The good thing about candy is years ago we moved away from homemade candies. Almost all candy is packaged already, so that’s helpful.”
Still, limiting the number of people who touch the candy is a good idea along with wiping down the packaging.
If you're wanting to pass out candy this Halloween, it's best to do it with a mask on and try to limit the number of trick or treaters handling the candy.
"Some recommendations are prepackaged candy, give little candy gift bags people can grab as they get by, instead of having kids reach in with their hands and grabbing a bunch of stuff, or you passing out with gloves or getting tongs and just dropping them into or getting a scooper letting kids drop it in," said Dr. Banh.
Dr. Banh's biggest concern is with Halloween parties.
"Having Halloween parties and getting kids from the neighbors or friends all together, that’s really different than you as a nuclear group going as a family going out trick-or-treating and doing it safely,” said Dr. Banh. “Trying to understand that we’re finally making some ground in many states and we can easily go backwards. Labor Day, Halloween all these things sort of letting our guard down on those aspects.”
Doctors say it's important to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting yourself from coronavirus so that the only frightening things we're encountering this Halloween are scary costumes and decorations.