Dept. of Health shares best practices for Halloween festivities during COVID-19

Staff reports
With COVID-19 concerns still lingering across the country, parents will have to decide whether or not to send their children our trick or treating this Halloween.

MOUNT MORRIS — The Livingston County Department of Health shared some Halloween health and safety tips as we continue to navigate a “new normal” during the COVID-19 crisis.

These tips align with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on ideas and risks associated with Halloween celebrations.

According to Jennifer Rodriguez, Livingston County’s Public Health Director, “The most significant risk associated with trick-or-treating is spending prolonged time in close contact with those who don't live in your home.”

General Trick-or-Treating Tips

· Stay home and do not partake in Halloween festivities if you are sick

· Wear a mask that covers both your mouth and nose

· Avoid touching  your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

· Hand sanitize (with sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol) frequently while out, especially before eating or after coughing/sneezing

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially when returning home and before eating any treats; if soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol

For children and families

· Wear a mask; consider a Halloween themed mask as long it covers the nose and mouth snugly

· Avoid children touching doorknobs and toys (especially those who touch their face often)

· Consider wearing gloves for more protection

· Have any small celebrations and/or costume contests outside

· If trick-or-treating, try to do so within family or small groups of close friends and in a controlled area within your neighborhood

· Avoid joining a large group of trick-or-treaters

· Keep 6-feet apart from other trick-or-treaters outside of your group; avoid clusters of trick-or-treaters at doorsteps

· Plan a virtual celebration

· Consider wiping down treat packages or letting them sit out a few days before consumption

· Carry a flashlight if trick-or-treating after dark

· Talk as a family about Halloween safety, social distancing guidelines, and expectations

For communities

· Consider alternative ways to hand out treats, such as a drive-by or a car parade in your neighborhood

· If you plan to hand out treats, you may want to sit outside and line up individually pre-packaged treat bags for families to take

·Non-edible treats are a good option

· Avoid having children pick from a bowl or shared container of candy

For more information on Halloween safety tips, contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 585-243-7270.