TOLEDO, Ohio — Halloween is a fun time of the year when kids and adults get into the spirit of things; and although you want to have fun it’s still important to protect your kids from both common hazards and COVID-19.
The good news is, trick-or-treating has been given the go-ahead from the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci who spoke to CNN saying, "I think that, particularly if you're vaccinated, you can get out there and enjoy it.”
Still, when it comes to being safe, Fauci says kids 2 and up should wear a mask as part of their costume.
Nicole Knepper with Mercy Health says staying healthy during a pandemic also means trick or treating in small groups, avoiding doorbells and using hand sanitizer often.
It may be a bit of a disappointment for kids, but trick-or-treaters should stay home if they're sick, and for general safety, those who do go out should stick to a familiar neighborhood.
"It's always best to know where the candy's coming from,” Knepper said. “When you get home, going through your candy and making sure they're not eating anything that's unwrapped. And I would avoid homemade treats if you don't know who they're from."
Parents should also consider glow-in-the-dark accessories like rings and wands, or children's pajamas for a costume since they're more practical and won’t cause a tripping hazard.
"As parents we need to make sure their costumes aren’t going to cause them to trip and fall, that they're able to see well if they have a mask on and are able to see, and that you go over some basic thing with them before you leave the house."
Another thing to keep in mind, said Knepper, is the use of non-toxic face paint with natural colorants since some face paints can react with kids who have allergies.
"Just make sure it's something that easily washes off, you don’t want to get it into their eyes and if your child does have allergies you just want to make sure you're testing it on a small area before you put it all over their face."
And if your child has food allergies, stock up on safe treats they can trade for after trick-or-treating or consider making small goody bags for neighbors to give your child.
The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has sent its own safety tips for celebrating Halloween amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
- Select events/attractions held outdoors and allow attendees to stay in their cars or socially distance.
- Refrain from having children select their own treats from a bowl/common container or set up a hand-sanitizing station.
- When indoors, always wear a face covering and stay 6 feet away from people who are not from your household. NOTE: Face coverings should never be placed on children younger than 2 or anyone who cannot easily remove them.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Sanitize hands frequently.
- While trick-or-treating, limit the number of houses you visit and ask children to stay as far away from others as possible.
- Only allow children to eat factory-wrapped treats.
- Avoid treats made by strangers