Halloween is almost here! Use these tips to keep your family safe.
Halloween is almost here, and this year, it’s on a Saturday! The CDC has recommended that families forgo traditional trick-or-treating this year in favor of more socially distanced options that can protect them from COVID-19. But many parents of young children still want to make the most of the holiday. Here’s what you can do to keep your family safe while still having fun this year.
Keep Your Distance
This year, all kids will need to wear masks on Halloween — face masks to protect them from COVID-19. As previously mentioned, the CDC recommends against going door-to-door for treats this year, as the face-to-face contact with dozens of strangers could put you and your kids at a higher risk of catching the disease.
However, that doesn’t mean you and your kids can’t go trick-or-treating. You don’t have to worry too much about catching the virus from treat wrappers. While it’s possible to catch COVID-19 from touching respiratory droplets on a surface, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, the virus mostly spreads through aerosols and face-to-face contact. So your treats are likely safe, especially if you have the kids wash their hands before eating them.
Many homeowners are already coming up with creative and fun ways to pass out candy while keeping the recommended six feet of distance. One has gone viral with a pulley system that delivers candy and drinks from his porch to the sidewalk. Others may simply stay inside and leave bowls of treats on the porch.
While you’re out and about, stick to picking up treats from houses that respect social distancing conventions. To mitigate the risk of spreading the virus, restrict your trick-or-treating activities to houses in your immediate neighborhood, or even just on your street. Keep the holiday fun with other activities that don’t require close contact, like making popcorn balls and other homemade treats, carving jack o’lanterns, or walking the neighborhood on a scavenger hunt for a list of Halloween-themed items.
Driving kids around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating can be a great option if your children are small, the weather is bad, or both. But make sure to drive extra carefully on All Hallow’s Eve. Remain alert, especially when driving through residential areas. Kids get pretty worked up about Halloween and they can behave in unpredictable and dangerous ways, like darting out into the street.
So drive slowly and keep your eyes peeled for little ghosts and ghouls. Obey all traffic laws, and stop at intersections and crosswalks even when you don’t think you have to. Eliminate distractions in the car, use your headlights, and be careful when entering and exiting driveways and alleyways.
When you’re out of the car and walking around, be extra alert for vehicles. Kids are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. If you’re walking with younger children, hold their hands. Teach kids to put their electronic devices away, if they have them, to look up and pay attention to where they’re going, and to look both ways when crossing the street.
You should also teach your kids the basic safety practices to avoid other Halloween dangers, especially if they’re old enough to go out alone or to take out younger siblings. Make sure your kids understand not to get into a stranger’s car, go into a stranger’s home, or follow a stranger. Agree on your children’s trick-or-treating route beforehand, and on a time they should return home. Teach kids to stay on well-lit, busy streets and to avoid getting separated from friends or siblings. Have your kids refrain from eating any treats they might collect until you have a chance to examine them at home.
Add Visibility to Costumes
Days are getting pretty short by late October, so chances are your kids will be out after dark. Make sure they’re visible to motorists by adding strips of reflective tape to bags and costumes. Give kids glow sticks or flashlights to carry. Make sure their costumes fit, so they don’t trip or get tangled up, and choose face paint over costume masks, which can be hard for kids to see out of.
Don’t Send Young Kids Out Trick-or-Treating Alone
Kids under 12 shouldn’t be allowed to trick-or-treat alone. Accompany your kids, or send them with a trusted friend or relative, such as an older teen sibling or cousin.
It’s almost Halloween, and that means plenty of spooky fun for you and your kids! The celebrations might look a little different this year, thanks to COVID-19, but you can still have a great time with your kids and even collect some treats from your neighbors — safely, of course.
For more Halloween tips and tricks, and other home advice for fall, read our Home Matters blog. We have all the home improvement, home maintenance, and DIY repair advice you need to keep your home in shape.