Despite the fact that the world seems to be operating almost normally at this point, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic—and as much as we’re all fed up with taking precaution and skipping celebrations, the threat of a deadly virus continues to haunt us into the Halloween season.
While we’re certainly not suggesting you skip Halloween all together, there are certain activities that are much more dangerous than others—and caution is definitely still advised.
To help break it down, we tapped into some of the top healthcare and medical professionals in our network to get their insights on what not to do this Halloween.
Swapping a face mask for a costume mask
“Do not use your costume mask as a substitute for your real mask,” explains Dr. Gregory Charlop, MD is the author of Why Doctors Skip Breakfast: Wellness Tips to Reverse Aging, Treat Depression, and Get a Good Night’s Sleep. “It simply won’t be effective for keeping you safe and containing anything you breathe in and out.”
Feasting on buffets or potlucks (even outside)
According to Dr. Charlop, if you do decide to go to a socially distanced party outside, you should avoid eating from open-style buffets or tables because it’s a higher chance that the food had exposure to someone sick.
“Closed containers or individual meals are preferred.”
Instagram opps at the pumpkin patch
Pumpkin Patches are outside, but can you really social distance on a hayride? “Unfortunately, pumpkin patches are a bad idea. You have too many kids in close proximity,” explains Dr. Charlop.
“They won’t be able to socially distance, and they’ll all touch the same surfaces. I’d skip the pumpkin patches this year and try another fun activity like outdoor costume contests, or scary movie nights under the stars.”
According to Dr. Charlop, there may be a way to trick-or-treat without putting the kids at risk—as long as both you and your kids are committed to following your ground rules. “Advise your kids to have people deposit the candy directly in the bag, so there’s no physical contact. They should also stay at least 6-feet away from the homeowner.”
“The truth is that our kids are suffering socially by being cooped up indoors all the time, and this is a relatively safe way they can reclaim some normalcy. Plus, they can have fun with their masks and incorporate them into their costumes!”
One caveat: don’t eat the candy right away. Dr. Charlop suggests you leave the candy in the bag and wait at least four days before devouring the goods (the four-day wait will give any virus on the candy time to die off).
Passing out candy from home
If you and the trick-or-treaters are both outside and everyone is wearing a mask (include it as part of your costume!), Dr. Charlop says it is probably safe to pass out candy.
However, if you’re high-risk (elderly, existing medical problems, obesity), you might want to use a fun hook or tool to pass the candy out at a distance—or skip it entirely this year.
Alternatively, you can leave small individual bags of candy that the kids can pick up on their own. “I recommend avoiding large pots of candy as you’ll have too many grubby fingers in one place!”