Step 1: Figure out how much health risk your household is comfortable assuming.
Do you live or regularly interact with people who are especially vulnerable to covid-19? Then you’ll want to err on the side of caution and consider staying in on Halloween. That’s always the safest option, of course, but there are still reasons some families might want to observe the High Holiday of American Children.
“Not having a routine really impacts kids, and as we come into the holidays, trick-or-treating and participating in Halloween activities can help kids with their minds,” Phoenix pediatrician Kristin Struble said in a recent Perspective article for The Washington Post.
Step 2: Try to figure out the general risk level in your community. Infection rates are trending up in most U.S. states right now, but what really matters are the specifics of your trick-or-treat route, which for most people will be their neighborhood. For example “the risk may be higher in a crowded apartment building than spread-out houses in the suburbs,” the article says.
What you really need is public-health data for your area, but this isn’t always easy or possible to find. Jon McGreevy, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, told The Post that some form of trick-or-treating would be acceptable so long as your community’s daily rate of positive tests does not exceed 10 percent.
Step 3: After weighing the amount of covid-19 risk your family can afford to take on against your kids’ mental health and the infection level in your community, the Post offers some safety tips if you do go trick-or-treating:
- Have kids wear a face mask. (Many costumes could easily incorporate one.)
- Adhere to social-distancing guidelines by standing six feet apart.
- Have a parent accompany children, regardless of age, to hold them accountable with mask-wearing and social distancing.
- Avoid congregating around doorsteps and porches.
- Use hand sanitizer after receiving candy from each house.
- Do not eat candy while trick-or-treating: Parents should make certain hands are clean before kids start touching their faces and eating candy.
- Make sure kids wash their hands as soon as they get home.
- Have kids remove their costumes and shower.
- No need to disinfect candy wrappers.
If you don’t, check out the article for suggestions from experts and parents to make Halloween a treat for your kids, even without the walkabout. They can still dress up and show off their costumes, for example! There are also tips for how to hand out candy without putting you or your neighbors at unnecessary risk.