How to Have a Safer Halloween

Halloween and trick-or-treating can still be fun this year. The Connecticut Department of Public Health has suggestions about how it can all take place as safely as possible.

An extra benefit: following this advice will improve the odds that schools can remain open.

Ideas for letting kids go door-to-door

The traditional way of trick-or-treating is rated as high-risk this year, but here are precautions the Health Department and CDC recommend to preserve the fun while keeping everyone safer:

  • Limit the number of homes children visit.
  • Have kids trick-or-treat only with members of your household.
  • Keep six feet of distance from people not in your household.
  • Have kids wear a face covering at all times while outside.

It’s important to note that a costume mask is no substitute for a cloth or surgical mask.

You may be able to find Halloween-themed cloth costume masks. Just make sure they are made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose. Make sure they don’t leave gaps around the face.

Bad idea: wearing a costume mask over a protective mask. The combination could make it hard for your child to breathe.

Worse idea: wearing a rubber costume mask over another face covering. Same as above.

Ideas for giving out candy

  • Leave goodie bags or a large bowl of candy outside your home. This is called one-way trick-or-treating. Families can grab and go while continuing to social distance.
  • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
  • If you choose to hand out candy, wash your hands before answering the door. Put on your mask, and remain six feet from the children.
  • Place the candy inside the child’s bag instead of having them take it from the bowl themselves.

Not as much fun as the traditional way, but safer for all concerned. Health officials also think it would be great if you placed a hand sanitizer station outside. At the very least, parents of trick-or-treaters should carry a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Parties and events

House parties could be a problem. Here are alternative ideas from health officials:

  • Virtual events. How about a virtual costume contest?
  • Drive-by Halloween events. Tour the town or neighborhood to see houses that are festively decorated.
  • A home candy scavenger hunt with members of your household.
  • A home Halloween movie night with members of your household.

Be creative, and keep your sense of humor. Sometimes the most memorable events are ones that don’t go exactly as planned.

Bad ideas for parties and events

  • Huge indoor parties where no one can maintain distance.
  • Indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming.
  • Hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household.
  • Trunk-or-treat events where children move car-to-car to collect candy.

About the guidance

“The holiday may look different this year,” says the Connecticut Department of Public Health in its published recommendations, but officials believe “we can still enjoy a happy (and healthy) Halloween.”

The object is to reduce Halloween activities to moderate or, preferably, low risk. Success largely depends on how well everyone maintains social distancing and masks up. All of that is getting old, but it is what it is.

The Health Department also asks certain people to give Halloween a miss this year. If you are ill or have traveled to a hot-spot state between October 16 and October 30, you are asked to not distribute Halloween candy and to refrain from leaving home for Halloween activity.

Colleges and universities are being asked to consider alternatives to on-campus costume parties and trick-or-treating between dorms. Many students will come home a few weeks later, hopefully bringing nothing with them you wouldn’t want in your home.

Also in Weston Today...