Let’s Celebrate Halloween Safely Windsor-Essex
With Thanksgiving behind us, and the cooler weather upon us, attentions are turning to Halloween. This year we all need to plan beyond our costume and prioritize health and safety to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is important that everyone, especially children understand that Halloween will look differently this year.
The key to a fun and safe Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic is to limit the number of contacts, stay small and stay local.
With health and safety as top priority, you can still create special childhood memories and have fun. We encourage parents, families and individuals to decorate their homes as they usually would to get into the spooky spirit of Halloween. To celebrate Halloween this year consider the following:
Low Risk Activities:
Recommended: The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) recommends the following or similar types of activities for Halloween this year. Sticking to low risk activities will reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and limit any potential transmission to others. Individuals that are at high-risk for COVID-19 such as seniors (70 years and older), individuals that are immune compromised or have a chronic health condition should only engage in low-risk activities this Halloween.
Ideas for Celebrating Halloween at Home:
- Create an at home trick-or-treat hunt – Whether it’s an outdoor backyard or indoor hunt, hide your child’s favourite treats or toys and create your very own at home trick-or-treat hunt! This way children can still celebrate and wear their costumes. Instead of treats, you can also gift your child with something else they will enjoy and that can benefit their health (i.e., healthy snacks, outdoor toys, a Halloween book, etc.).
- Host a virtual costume party – We have all relied on technology to connect with our family and friends this year, so why not do the same to celebrate Halloween? Get dressed up and video-call with family or friends to have a costume contest and make spooky crafts.
- Enjoy a family Halloween night – Spend your Halloween night enjoying time as a family, those in your household, by watching a classic Halloween movie, carving pumpkins, decorating spooky treats, and more!
- Attend a virtual haunted house – Attending a virtual haunted house can provide your family with the scary activity they may be missing this year. This is a sure way to have a scary and spooky Halloween experience while safe at home.
- Deliver treats to family and friends – Spread cheer by delivering a Halloween goodie bag or pumpkin on the doorsteps of friends and loved ones as a contact-free way to celebrate. Ensure that you wash hands when handling any materials and stand back from the doorway.
- Not Recommended: Individuals that are at high-risk for COVID-19 such as seniors (70 years and older), individuals that are immune compromised or have a chronic health condition should only engage in low-risk activities this Halloween. Do not participate in any activities if you are ill.
- Parties and traditional trick or treating increases the number of contacts and potential for exposure to COVID-19 making them high-risk activities. The WECHU recommends that everyone avoid activities that put them at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19. If you are considering high-risk activities follow these recommendations for a safer Halloween.
- Halloween Party: Remember that the idea is to limit the number of close contacts. Parties should be avoided and are not recommended. Keep your celebration to your household.
- Trick-or-treat from a distance – Although trick-or-treating is an outdoor activity, there are still no zero-risk situations, therefore following the rules of physical distancing will be extremely important. Always stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from people outside of your household. This includes waiting for the trick-or-treaters in front of you to collect their treats before proceeding.
- Wear a mask or face covering – Everyone who is participating in trick-or-treating must wear a mask or face covering. Make sure your child’s costume allows them to wear a mask or face covering comfortably. Costume masks are not a substitute for a proper non-medical or medical face covering.
- Practice frequent hand washing and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer – Make sure your child’s costume allows them to easily wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We strongly recommend families thoroughly wash their hands before and after trick-or-treating and apply alcohol-based hand sanitizer often throughout the night.
- Limit the number of houses you visit – Reduce the number of houses you visit to limit contacts and exposure to COVID-19. Stay in your neighbourhood and limit the number of houses you visit.
- Avoid large groups – Reducing the number of contacts will be critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19 this Halloween. It is recommended families trick-or-treat only with their household members to avoid large groups.
- Avoid touching surfaces – When out trick-or-treating, avoid touching high touch surfaces such as doorbells, railings etc., and make sure to wash or sanitize your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Wash your hands, clean treats – Before dumping your treats and sorting out your favourites at the end of the night, make sure to clean all treats and toys collected. Ensure you wash your hands before eating any treat you collected.
- Do not trick or treat if you are ill – the most important part of preventing COVID-19 is staying home if you feel ill. If you or anyone in your family is ill stay home this Halloween.
Handing Out Treats:
- Practice frequent hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer – Before putting out treats and throughout the night, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands. If hand washing is not available, we recommend the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Consider providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer for children to use between houses as some parents may forget to bring theirs.
- Give treats from a distance – Use tongs to hand out candy, a table to spread out treats or other creative ways to share while keeping distance should be a priority. Also, consider sitting outside to avoid the need to open the door or ring the doorbell. Handing out treats at the end of the driveway will make it easy to avoid lineups and potential crowds.
- Provide individual treats and avoid handmade treats – Providing individual and prepackaged treats or individual treat bags will prevent multiple children from dipping their hands into the same bowl, creating a contact-free Halloween!
- Wear a mask or face covering – The most enjoyable part of Halloween is seeing all of the creative costumes and hearing kids say “Trick-or-Treat!” When outside, you must wear a non-medical or medical mask or face covering so you can enjoy the night as safely as possible.
- Place physical distancing markers – Decorating your house for Halloween this year may look slightly different. To promote physical distancing on your driveway, mark out 2 metre (6 feet) spaces using tape for trick-or-treaters to stand while waiting their turn.
- No screaming – if you are decorating your home, avoid anything that may cause kids to scream or cough as this can increase the spread of respiratory droplets. No smoke machines or scary props this Halloween.