Halloween and COVID-19: Staying safe while celebrating

Halloween may look different this year as we all work together to decrease the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate and have fun with your little ones this weekend!

In years past, you already  had the routine down pat — costumes picked out, plenty of candy ready to hand out for trick-or-treaters and a carved up a jack-o’-lantern. Your kids would come home with bags or buckets loaded down with candy and go to bed happy!

But, as with most things in 2020, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in our traditions. And adherence to social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing is still crucial in controlling the spread of the virus.

“We are all tired of the masks and social distancing measures needed to keep COVID-19 infections at a low rate in our community,” Says Dr. Charles Woods, specialist in pediatric infectious disease and Chief Medical Officer at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. “We have had a lot of success but infection rates are creeping up, so vigilance is still needed. Halloween fun can still be had with a few simple precautions as recommended by the CDC.”

Dr. Woods expresses concern that the current rise in rates may be attributed to people thinking it is now safe to have a few friends over for dinner or parties without masks — and then infection is transmitted.

“Keep in mind that being in a group of 8 or 10 people indoors at home without masks for can put us at risk for spreading or catching COVID-19, just like being in other crowded situations out in public.”

The CDC recommends everyone wear a cloth mask, stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you both indoors and outdoors, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.

So what can you do this year for Halloween and the days that follow to still have fun? Try these safe, family-friendly activities.

  • Get active, Halloween-style.

    • Play some Halloween music and have everyone dance. When the music stops, everyone has to freeze in place.
    • Pumpkin bowling! Use small pumpkins as the bowling “balls” and plastic bottles as the pins.
    • Have a Halloween candy hunt around the yard or the house! Hide candy like Easter eggs and offer a bonus candy prize to the person who finds the most.
  • Outdoor fun with family and friends.
    • Host an outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors or an indoor movie night with your household members.
    • Hold an outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes.
    • Go on an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt.
    • Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching frequently touched surfaces, pumpkins, or apples.
    • Go to a one-way, walk-through haunted forest or corn maze.
    • Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
  • Decorate or cook up some pumpkin goodies.
    • Bake pumpkin muffins, roast pumpkin seeds, or make a Halloween-themed treat.
    • Decorate your home for Halloween.
    • Carve pumpkins with members of your household or outside with neighbors or friends.

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween! But if a Halloween mishap does occur, Erlanger offers the emergency care you need, including care for the unique needs of kids, 24/7.