By: Marcos Mestre, MD & Matthew A. Love
Halloween 2020 and COVID-19
As we continue to face the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important that we also find joy in celebrating events like Halloween. While the festivities will be different this year, we are still able to take precautions that allow children to have fun in a safe manner. By being flexible and creative, we can enjoy Halloween while following the COVID-19 guidelines of wearing appropriate face coverings or masks, remaining physically distant from others and washing hands frequently.
Here are some creative and safe ideas offered by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
- Attend virtual costume parties/contests.
- Decorate your home.
- Go to physically distant, outdoor costume parades.
- Create Halloween-themed crafts.
- Host outdoor movie nights with appropriate distancing and dress as your favorite characters.
- Make your favorite family Halloween treats.
- Carve and decorate pumpkins (always be sure to supervise children carefully during carving activities).
- Participate in an outdoor Halloween scavenger hunt.
- Attend safe outdoor activities in South Florida.
If you still plan on trick-or-treating, here are some tips:
- Avoid going door to door and instead, encourage neighbors to participate in trick-or-treating by lining up individually prepackaged treat bags at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard in order for kids to "grab-and-go."
- Maintain physical distancing; children and families should be careful to avoid large groups or clustering at doorsteps.
- Sit outside and wear appropriate face masks or coverings when handing out treats.
- Wipe treats clean or set them aside for a couple of days before giving them to children.
- Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after trick-or-treating.
Be aware that not all masks that come with costumes provide effective protection against COVID-19; therefore, an appropriate face covering or mask should still be worn.
Although this will not be a traditional Halloween, we can still make it memorable and enjoyable for our children and families while remaining safe.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Trick or Treat With an Adult
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick or treat in groups.
Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.
Drive Extra Safely on Halloween
For more information, please visit: https://www.safekids.org
This content was reviewed and provided by Marcos Mestre, MD, VP and Chief Medical Officer
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Nicklaus Children's Hospital, and Matthew A. Love, President and CEO, Nicklaus Children's Health System.