With Halloween this weekend there is understandably a lot of anxiety from parents and their children about whether it’s still possible to go trick-or-treating.
The good news, according to one of Canada’s foremost infectious disease experts, is that you can still celebrate with low chances of catching or spreading the coronavirus–with a few modifications of course.
“Certainly Halloween is something that it’s possible to do fairly safely,” Dr. Tara Moriarty from the Moriarty Lab said during the latest edition of Skeena Strong’s live virtual event “Fighting COVID In The Skeena,” which also featured a team of experts from Covid Resources Canada. If you missed it, click here to watch a recording.
Here are some of the team’s best pieces of advice.
1) Keep the activities outdoors as much as possible
“In a closed room where you don’t have good ventilation and people aren’t masking, it’s possible that you can have an accumulation of the virus in the air that can make people sick,” Dr. Moriarty said. “This is one of the reasons why doing things outdoors is one of the safest things to do, because there’s always lots of fresh air circulation, and you don’t get the virus building up in that closed environment.”
2) Apply the same social distancing measures you use during other times
“People need to keep their two meters of distance away from other people,” Dr. Moriarty said. “They should be masked if they’re going to be in close proximity to other people, you should be washing your hands…If kids go to every house, and they get some candy and they don’t get too close to the person, but they come back down the walkway and they sanitize their hands, then would be effective.”
3) Use tongs to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters
“This is one recommendation that the BCCDC is using, handing out candy using tongs,” said Peter Fairman, a safety professional from Prince George. “Not only do you prevent all of the hands going into the bin at the same time or over and over throughout the night, you worry less about having that potential transfer if such a thing were to happen.”
4) Let the candy sit for a few days afterwards–and stock up with extra beforehand
“The virus doesn’t live for all that long and surfaces. If you take your child’s Halloween candy, put it in a box that they can’t access or use and leave it there for two days, then whatever it might be on the surface of that candy is probably okay,” Dr. Moriarty said. “You might want to have some substitute candy ready for that situation. Because I think there would be riots if parents took all the candy away from kids on Halloween night.”
5) Keep things light and fun rather than scary and anxious
“We have to be so careful not to download our fear and our anxiety onto our kids,” said Smithers counsellor Katherine Brach. “We have to be really cognizant of using that danger and threat-based messaging…Instead of focusing on the threat and the scary parts of what we’re dealing with, focus on what your family can do to stay safe, because when kids know what they can do to keep themselves safe and keep their family safe, they feel empowered.”