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COVID-19 and Halloween
If there is one thing that doesn’t get canceled this Halloween season, I hope it’s trick-or-treat. It’s outdoors, everyone is already wearing a mask, so why not? Seems like we already have a lot of the boxes checked, right?
If we are going to be taking our kids out trick or treating this Halloween, then more than ever we will have to work to keep you and your kids safe. Some parents may decide not to go out trick or treating this year which may result in a lot more dark doorsteps than usual. I expect it will vary by area.
I’ve put together a checklist of things you can do to make trick or treating as safe as possible. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk, the only way to do that is to stay home.
Trick or Treat Checklist for Pandemic
A printable version is below.
- Include a mask in your child’s costume
- Have a mask for yourself
- Carry an extra mask for your child, just in case they lose theirs
- A cloth bag or pillowcase to put candy in (No plastic this year!)
- A large spoon, pair of tongs, or something else for your child to get candy with besides their hands
- A portable bottle of hand sanitizer
- A Small LED flashlight not only to light up dark paths but also to ring doorbells
- A bell, cowbell, stick or something else to knock or get attention with, that doesn’t require that they touch a door that everyone else has touched
- Baby Wipes or Sanitizing Wipes
- A Bag for Trash
- An extra bag of candy at home
- Setup at home in your entryway or garage: an area for the child to disrobe out of costume and leave it there for 24+ hours, and put pajamas on.
Most of the things on this list are pretty self-explanatory, with one exception, the extra bag of candy. I’ve read that this virus can live on plastic for 72 hours. The extra candy at home is so that when you get home you can make a trade with your kids. Give them the candy you’ve had safe at home. Their trick or treat candy sits at the top of your closet for at least 3 days. If you don’t want to give them the candy right away save it for Thanksgiving or even Christmas.
The One Time We Shouldn’t Get Grief about a Mask.
It’s important to keep in mind that people might react poorly to your child wearing a mask. We’ve seen a lot of cases over the last few months of people tearing masks off other people and generally acting irrationally when it comes to wearing a mask. This isn’t just a risk while they’re going door to door, it also is a risk just walking on the street.
Which is one of the reasons why I think we all should sit down with our kids and explain to them the new rules for this year. Explain to them that they should ring the doorbell with the tip of their flashlight, not with their finger. Explain that if they are offered a bowl full of candy, take one using whatever tool it is you give them to do it with. Explain to them that they shouldn’t take their mask off for any reason until they get back home.
Layout all expectations beforehand.
Can they hug? Is a fist bump ok? That’s for you to decide.
Have a Change of Clothes Ready
When I have to go out, I put a change of clothes in my garage. When I get home, I change into the clean clothes and leave the ones that I had been wearing in the garage. I immediately go in and wash my hands. I retrieve the clothes in the garage after 24 hours and wash them.
You might want to get a similar setup ready for your child. That way, they can come home and change into pajamas or sweats, and the clothes that they’ve worn all over the neighborhood can stay in the garage or your entryway for 24 hours.
Old Safety Rules Still Apply
Sometimes, lately, we’re so worried about covid that we forget that there are still other things we need to be cautious about. Remind your kids to still look for traffic, only cross streets at intersections and so on. Halloween remains the day of the year that has the most kids hit by a car.
Consider Going with your Kids
I did a happy dance the year my son was old enough to go with his friends and didn’t need me to trick-or-treat. Still, it might be easier and safer for you to tag along. Perhaps they can ring the doorbell and hold their bags open, while you use the grabby-thing to get the candy. Some kids may lack the fine motor skills to do this! Or the motor planning skills to do all those things at each and every house.
We’re adding in a few steps this year. So maybe, we need one last go-round the block.
Take care and be safe.