TAMPA, Fla. — With Halloween less than two weeks away, many parents are trying to make plans to celebrate now. But with COVID-19 still a concern, families all over the United States are wondering if it's safe to go trick-or-treating this year.
ABC Action News took those concerns to medical experts with Baycare Health, who say with some added safety precautions, your family can still take part in trick or treating, handing out candy and other Halloween festivities.
If you plan to welcome trick-or-treaters to your home, instead of handing out candy at your door, consider arranging individual treat bags on a table in your driveway or near the front door for a contact-less handoff.
"Instead of having it all in a bucket, where everyone is putting their hands in, lay out a row so that when they come up, they can just grab one and go," said Michelle Sterling, the children's wellness and safety specialist with St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. "Then, you can refill that row after the little trick or treaters leave your house."
When it comes to going home-to-home for trick-or-treating, Sterling said be sure to wear a mask when around people who are not part of your household.
Also, doctors say Halloween costume masks are not a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of fabric and fits snugly around your mouth and nose.
Additionally, medical experts say wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth mask can make it difficult to breathe. Instead, they say to consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
Doctors also recommend keeping a physical distance of at least six feet from people who are not in your immediate household, using hand sanitizer often, and waiting to eat candy until you are at home and can wash your hands with soap and water.
Keep in mind though, updated safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourages families from taking part in traditional trick-or-treating.
Sterling is also offering the following tricks for keeping Halloween a treat for your family during the pandemic:
- Go all out with the Halloween decorations. Keep it budget-friendly by having your kids help create decorations to hang from windows, trees, mailbox, etc. You could even turn one of your bedrooms into a kid-friendly haunted house.
- Decorate doors inside your house and let your little ones go trick-or-treating indoors. Get the whole family involved with mom or dad behind one door, an older sibling behind another and grandparents behind yet another door.
- Set up a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt in and around your house. Provide clues and leave treats along the route.
- Turn up your spooky Halloween music and have a dance party with your children. Organize a virtual Halloween party and let your family and friends show off their best dance moves.
- Set up a projector in the backyard and watch your favorite Halloween movies.