Halloween

How COVID-19 is changing Halloween plans

Halloween is coming. Many people view Halloween as a time for fun and treats, dressing up in costumes, and attending spooky parties. It is also a time to be aware and demonstrate extra caution, especially for children, due to the increased foot traffic in low light conditions.

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HALLOWEEN SAFETY

In the United States, children aged 5-14 are more likely to be struck by vehicular traffic while walking on Halloween night compared with other nights of the year. Also, as we all know this year is much different because of the pandemic. If you’re choosing to go out and trick or treat, please do so with current health and safety precautions related to COVID-19 in mind. Here are some safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.

Children should:

Make a mask part of the costume (if it wasn’t already)

Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult. (6 ft between unknown groups)

Wash hands frequently, if possible and as soon as you get home. (bring hand sanitizer)

Know everyone’s phone numbers for emergency phone calls.

Carry a note in their pocket with their name and address.

Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them.

When using costume knives and swords, ensure they are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

When walking in neighborhoods, they should:

Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks if available, and avoid crossing yards.

Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks if available, and don’t cross between parked cars.

Stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.

Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant.

Avoid wearing hats that could slide over their eyes.

Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes to prevent tripping.

Always look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.

Parents and adults should:

Supervise the outing for children under age 12.

Establish a curfew for older children.

Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing decorations away from doorways and landings.

Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.

Inspect all candy before children eat it.

To ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters, parents and adults should:

Make sure children under age 10 are supervised as they cross the street.

Drive slowly.

Watch for children in the street and on medians.

Exit driveways carefully.

Have children get out of cars on the curbside, not the traffic side.

Consider taking advantage of community events where the kids can show off their costumes and trick-or-treat in one central place without the need to navigate city and neighborhood streets. (Business trick or treat events in town)

Following these tips should help ensure this Halloween is a safe and fun holiday for everyone.

Armed with pipes, foam and paint, Michigan resident Breanne Cremean spent several hours constructing a device that will still allow her to give out candy to trick or treaters this year: a “Beetlejuice” candy chute.

She was inspired to make it after seeing someone online make their own version, and thought it would be a cute way of passing out candy while keeping everybody 6 feet apart. 

“The hardest part was figuring out the right angle to put it at so that the candy doesn’t get stuck,” Cremean said, laughing. “My husband and I did a lot of testing.”

Innovations like candy chutes have grown popular because of the pandemic, creating a market for businesses like the appropriately named Candy Chute to capitalize on it. “Candy Chute was invented to provide a safe way to deliver candy to a trick-or-treater this Halloween,” the company wrote on its website.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced many to get creative this Halloween, with people like Cremean putting measures in place that adhere to social distancing guidelines while still getting to celebrate the holiday. 

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