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How to Safely Trick-or-Treat this Halloween Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

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STONY BROOK, NY, September 23, 2020 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines on how to celebrate Halloween safely. The agency grouped Halloween activities into low, moderate and high-risk buckets with traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating making the top of the higher-risk activities for spreading COVID-19. The guidelines come one week after Governor Andrew Cuomo said he wouldn’t formally ban trick-or-treating this year, but said he won’t necessarily encourage parents to take kids door-to-door either.

For those who do plan to head out this October, Sharon Nachman, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital has some tips for families on how to safely trick-or-treat on Halloween during the pandemic.

  1. Staying 6 feet away while walking and going from home to home.

  2. Go trick-or-treating in small groups.

  3. Parents and kids should always wear their masks while walking in the neighborhood, as well as when you open the door to hand out candy.

  4. Not allowing (older) kids to go out unsupervised.

  5. Consider organizing your route. Talk to friends and neighbors and have a preset signal. For example, outside lights means kids know this is a home you can stop at for trick-or-treating.

  6. Only wrapped candies or treats.

  7. Some families may elect to leave a few treats on their outside stoop of their home. If that is the case, then remind kids to only take one!

  8. No parties!

  9. You can leave a bucket or wear a mask and use hand sanitizer when handing out treats. No crowding at the door is important.

  10. Pre-organize the route.

Sharon nachman
Sharon Nachman, MD

“Parents can work to make trick-or-treating safe. It will take some extra preparation and thinking,” said Dr. Nachman. “Kids can have a good time. It will just look different from past years but that’s fine.”

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