You can still celebrate Halloween, but COVID-19 safeguards can’t take a break
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – We say “trick or treat,” but don’t we really mean just a treat, please? A hundred years ago, Halloween in the U.S., if it was marked at all, was a kind of low-grade game, with homeowners turning over tasty delights so youngsters wouldn’t play tricks on them – or their property.
Today, thankfully, it’s just a handoff. And that’s the rub.
This year, even without the mischief, a day like Halloween seems tricky.
The warnings from public health professionals around COVID-19 are consistent — stay masked when around others, stay distanced, and wash your hands.
“It’s really just more of what we have been talking about for several months now – be smart and do your part to protect yourself and those whom you’re going to be around,” said Dr. Jeffrey Stalnaker, Chief Clinical Officer with Health First.
“You can still celebrate Halloween, but COVID-19 safeguards can’t take a break. Be creative when it comes to handing out treats, and make sure you’re doing all you can to minimize the risk.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered up more detailed directions – and while it may bite into our fun, these rules will shoo the frights away.
Number One Rule
It sounds obvious, but we have to say it. If you don’t feel well or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, stay home. Reach out to your physician or schedule a Virtual Visit to get back on the path to wellness. And if your symptoms are severe, seek help immediately.
Unlike haunted houses, there’s no mystery surrounding the spread of COVID-19. We know that germy hands and tiny particles we release when we cough, sneeze and even exhale are “vectors” – basically, ways the virus is transmitted.
Traditional trick-or-treating is high-risk, the CDC warns. So here’s what we can do to cut down on the spread:
▪ Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters
▪ Give out treats outdoors, if possible
▪ Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take
▪ Wash hands before handling treats
▪ Wear a mask
Parents, talk to children about these new rules, and why we should follow them.
Halloween used to be an occasion to wear masks. Today, every day is an occasion to wear masks.
The CDC says to make your cloth mask (with two or more layers that cover the nose and mouth with no gaps) part of your costume. But, please, avoid wearing one under a typical Halloween mask – you don’t want to have a hard time breathing. And this probably isn’t the answer trick-or-treaters were hoping for, but a costume mask isn’t a substitute for a cloth one.
Homeowners, prepare individual “grab and go” goodie bags for trick-or-treaters – and then set them up a decent distance from where you’ll be (such as the end of your driveway). Be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before preparing the bags and after handling them.
Kids, carry hand sanitizer. After you get home but before you dig in, wash your hands for about 20 seconds, or about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
COVID-19 isn’t the only virus in the mix right now. October is the start of flu season, exacerbated by the colder, indoor months and the holidays.
So, get your flu vaccine. Nearly all pharmacies, including Health First Family Pharmacy, offer them. They’re quick and often free, depending on your insurance plan.
Hey, viruses aren’t the only hobgoblins this Halloween. Public health experts want to remind homeowners and parents to ward off trouble by making sure walkways where trick-or-treaters will approach are free of trip hazards.
Nothing says Halloween like door-to-door trick-or-treating. But it’s not everything, either – especially during these strange times.
You can still have fun with a little creativity:
▪ Plan an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt for candy or other treats
▪ Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard – but remember to wash your hands or sanitize after touching frequently touched surfaces or fruit
▪ Find a one-way, walk-through haunted forest or maze
▪ Hold a Halloween treat to hunt with members of your own household
▪ Participate in or coordinate an outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes
▪ Host an outdoor Halloween movie night and invite friends (socially distanced, of course) – or keep it close and inside with just your own family or household members.
Enjoying Halloween traditions while staying safe and avoiding COVID-19 are not either-or propositions.
And if you find yourself or your child feeling a little under the weather, skip the festive fun – and reach out to Health First for a Virtual Visit to quickly get back on the path to wellness.
If you are concerned you might be sick, remember you can schedule a Virtual Visit. Call 321-434-3131 to schedule a Virtual Visit with one of our dedicated providers.