TOLEDO, Ohio — Trick-or-treating may be a bit... tricky this year due to COVID-19, but according to the folks at National Confectioners Association, it shouldn't be impossible.
Dr. Stephen Ostroff served as the FDA’s deputy commissioner and chief scientist and as the deputy director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said that he believes, with the appropriate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health departments across the country, we can prioritize safety and public health while still allowing families to celebrate Halloween this fall.
Ostroff said the key is to start planning now.
Here are a few ideas from the National Confectioners Association to help keep families safe while trick-or-treating during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:
- Halloween is traditionally an outdoor holiday and the one time of the year when kids actually want to wear a mask. Ostroff suggests getting creative with face coverings. Work with your child to think of ways to integrate clever, while still protective, face coverings into their Halloween costume.
- This is not the year to be holding large indoor events, including parties, Ostroff said. Proper ventilation and airflow are rarely an issue when outside. Consider holding a small outdoor gathering of children with required physical distancing in the yard or elsewhere in the neighborhood. Even a small pageant or parade can be held safely outdoors if six feet of physical distancing is maintained!
- While large indoor parties aren't suggested, Ostroff said he believes trick-or-treating can safely be done at households you know and can alert ahead of time so that adequate distancing is practiced. Your child will still get to show off their costume to neighbors, relatives, and friends. And the treats can even be placed outside beforehand so your child doesn’t need to come in direct contact with the people inside!
- Although there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by food or food packaging, personal hygiene is still important during Halloween. Bring hand sanitizer if attending an outdoor event or going trick-or-treating. Use it frequently to keep your child’s hands clean, including before opening a package.
- This year, it’s more important than ever that any treats you distribute or your child receives are packaged and not loose or open. If you venture out on Halloween night, bring along a package of disinfectant wipes for added peace of mind.
So far in Ohio, statewide recommendations have not been released. However, Gov. Mike DeWine said that the Ohio Dept. of Health and local health departments will "certainly" have guidance, which should hopefully be announced in the near future.
Some northwest Ohio communities have already provided tentative plans for Halloween 2020. For a list of what some municipalities have decided, click here.