The Good Neighbor's Guide to Halloween
This year big parties and public celebrations are off but Halloween is still on! Celebrating any holiday during COVID-19 can be fun while taking steps to keep everyone safe.
Can our children still enjoy Halloween? Answer: Yes. The key is to be respectful of others. We’ve identified some ways to help your kids get maximum enjoyment out of the weekend while being respectful of the neighbors whose doors they knock on.
If you take your kids trick-or-treating, keep in mind that you may be knocking on the door of someone who is at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19 — or who regularly comes into contact with an Elder or someone else who is high-risk.
All children and their adult chaperones should be wearing a CDC-recommended facial covering either under or instead of their costume mask. If you are trick-or-treating inside a multi-family complex, be mindful of using inside voices and not running through hallways.
Don’t knock on every door you see! Look for indications that a host welcomes trick-or-treaters at their door. This year many people will put candy outside to limit in-person interactions with children. Take one candy per child, avoid touching other pieces and do not ring the doorbell.
If a home has no Halloween decorations and exterior lights aren’t turned on, it’s probably best to pass that door and look for one that is decorated and well-lit.
When you and your children do go outside, remember to wear some type of reflective markings and carry a flashlight. When you’re back home, remember to wash everyone’s hands, especially after sorting through candy that came from a variety of sources. With that in mind, it may be a good idea for you and your children to wear gloves.
National Safety Council has some good tips here for keeping your trick-or-treaters safe.
We know it’s not easy but if you or someone in your household is sick or has symptoms, it’s better to skip the trick-or-treating this year. Your neighbors and friends will appreciate the courtesy.
If you don’t want trick-or-treaters coming to your door, that’s okay! One good way to prevent people from ringing your bell is to leave a bowl of candy outside. Kids have been cooped up during homeschool and are looking forward to Halloween. You don’t have to endanger yourself by personal interactions but you can still be part of making a child’s evening fun.
Send a signal to treaters by putting out a friendly sign stating your preference, maybe something like, “COVID tricked us this year, so we’re not handing out treats this Halloween.” Or “Elders live here” or “Baby onboard! Our household is vulnerable to COVID. Please do not knock. Take one candy per child from the bucket outside. Stay safe and happy Halloween!”
If you do choose to open your door to trick-or-treaters, wear a mask to protect yourself and others. And, of course, all trick-or-treaters should wear masks. You can incorporate a COVID-protective mask into a costume by doing simple things like drawing a mouth on a mask or sewing buttons or cut-out shapes onto a mask. Here is one site we found that has some good ideas.
Remember to be extra vigilant of safety on a busy night with children and vehicles interacting on our streets.
A gentle reminder for a COVID safe Halloween: As you know by now, the best way to avoid catching any respiratory virus is to reduce contact with other people’s breath. According to State of Alaska and CDC guidelines, that means don’t trick or treat in groups, take hand sanitizer with you, wear a recommended face covering, and wash everyone’s hands often or when you get home. Be safe. Happy Halloween!