Halloween and trick-or-treating tips from Public Health

This year’s Halloween in Ballard will look quite different: the downtown trick-or-treating event has been cancelled, and it’s likely that many families will choose to stay home rather than parade through the neighborhood.

Seattle & King County Public Health is recommending that folks consider abstaining from trick-or-treating this year, as COVID-19 continues to spread in the community. However, the health department offers some tips to help make it safer:

  • Avoid setting a bowl of candy outside your front door. If you put out a bowl of candy, several people will touch both the bowl and candy, increasing the risk of transmission.
  • Get creative with how you give out treats, and be sure to wear a mask. Mark out six-foot waiting spots on your front steps to keep trick-or-treaters a safe distance apart from one another. Consider other ways to hand out candy, whether it’s via a long tube that you can slide candy down (see below), a remote-control car that can deliver treats to kids on the street, or individual baggies of grab-and-go candy set out on your front steps.
  • Make sure Halloween costumes incorporate nose and mouth coverings. While many costumes may include a face mask, a plastic covering won’t be as safe as one that’s made from two or more layers of breathable fabric. Pair an appropriate nose/mouth covering with the costume for appropriate protection.
  • Maintain six-foot distancing. Avoid crowds, and encourage your kids to wait in line for candy.
  • Wash. Your. Hands. Make sure everyone washes their hands when you’re back home, and consider carrying hand sanitizer while trick-or-treating to sanitize between houses.
  • Quarantine your candy. This one will be tough for kids, but be sure to set aside Halloween candy for 24 hours after trick-or-treating. If you foresee a dramatic episode coming, buy some candy beforehand that you can let your kids dig into once they’ve finished trick-or-treating.

Public Health has also suggested some safer Halloween options:

  • Organize a neighborhood costume parade with social distancing.
  • Decorate yards and your neighborhood.
  • Set up a Halloween scavenger hunt.
  • Plan a virtual costume party.
  • Exchange candy with close family friends.

If you want to learn more about different trick-or-treating options and approximate risk levels, Eater has a great resource.

File photo of Halloween in Ballard, 2018

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