Trick-or-treating safely in 2020

The 2020 Halloween is creeping up, and along with the festivities comes the concern of safety.

This year those concerns are heightened due to COVID-19. As a result, keeping health and safety at the forefront is essential this season.

Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said despite the necessary limitations on the size of gatherings and other pandemic concerns, especially for those at high risk, children can still enjoy a fun-filled season because there are other creative and safer ways to celebrate while following COVID-19 protocols.

“As always, responsible adult supervision is key,” he said. “Adults and children who may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone [with the virus] should not participate in any in-person festivities.”

CDC spokesperson Benjamin Haynes recommends practicing social distancing guidelines with individuals outside of your household and carrying hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol for children to use.

“Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats,” he said. “Costume masks should not cover the cloth mask because this may make breathing more difficult.”

Haynes also recommends families:

• Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters

• Give out treats outdoors, if possible

• Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take

• Making a cloth mask part of a costume

Harris said traditional injury prevention and health precautions for Halloween trick-or-treating hold true, even in 2020.

Yearly safety tips provided by ADPH include the following:

• Be sure to wear only flame-resistant costumes, wigs and accessories.

• Add reflective tape to costumes.

• Do not wear decorative contact lenses. They can cause eye injuries.

• Never walk near lit candles or luminaries and avoid distractions from electronic devices.

• Make sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles.

• Examine treats for choking hazard before eating them, limit the amount of sugary and sticky candies consumed.

Per healthychildren.org, pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween. Remind trick-or-treaters the following:

• Remain in a well-lit area

• Don’t assume the right of way. A motorist may have trouble seeing you.

• Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.

• Carry a cell phone if possible for quick communication.

“With everyone’s cooperation, behavior modification and consideration for one another, it is hoped we will meet the health and safety challenges and reflect on fall 2020 as a season when each of us did our part to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections in our communities and state,” said Harris.

Other Halloween options for this year’s spooky season festivities provided by the CDC include:

• Hiding Halloween treats in and around your house. Hold a Halloween treat hunt with household members

• Holding an outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes

• Hosting an outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors or an indoor movie night with your household members

• Carving or decorating pumpkins

• Having a virtual Halloween costume contest

According to the CDC, considerations provided are meant to supplement not replace any state, local, territorial or tribal health and safety laws, rules and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply.

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