As if parenting isn't already hard enough, here's a question you probably never thought you'd have to ask yourself: Is it safe to go trick-or-treating during a pandemic?
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett added that the city does not anticipate deploying police officers to look for trick-or-treaters.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has already resulted in the cancellation of the annual Halloween parade and to mitigate transmission of COVID-19, is recommending residents participate in low-risk activities as set out in the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Space out the placement of treats so that multiple people do not have to reach into the same bowl or find contactless ways to deliver treats, like a candy chute that is more than six feet long.
"Parents have to calculate risk and benefit", he says. Trick-or-treating, when done in a safe way, is still possible.
Health officials are encouraging all British Columbians to avoid large gatherings and to celebrate with people in their "bubbles". Children who go door-to-door to trick-or-treat must wear a face covering at all times. Ensure that any cloth mask worn under a costume mask does not inhibit the ability to breathe easily.
Do not use a costume mask (such as for Halloween) as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn't leave gaps around your face. "We are maintaining the joy by allowing our children to still wear their Halloween costumes, but we won't be going out".
Candy-givers can get creative, too, says Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher, vice chair of AHN's Primary Care Institute.
If your neighborhood is intent on keeping the trick-or-treat spirit alive this year, you'll need to rethink the traditional method of handing out candy from your doorstep. Or, you can line up individually prepared goodie bags on the porch or the driveway and depend on the honor system.
DOH suggested families celebrate the October 31 holiday within their own homes with their household members, as opposed to the traditional door-to-door candy collecting, which is considered a high-risk activity with children handed treats or taking candy from a shared bucket.
If you're still not comfortable with the community candy grab, there are alternatives, Crawford-Faucher says. Lines should be single-file and socially distanced.
For its part, Pittsfield will sponsor several virtual Halloween-themed contests. State health officials, for example, say a Halloween movie night with friends is moderate risk - though it increases if "screaming will likely occur", which can spread infectious respiratory droplets.