Halloween safety in the pandemic


(CBS News) – Trick-or-treating is back, but health officials still want families to make sure simple COVID precautions are in place.

Dr. Mercedes Carnethon with Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine says everyone should mask up, especially if you welcome trick-or-treaters at the door. “There’s no way to predict the density of children who are going to come together, and there’s no way to know which households they’re approaching, whether or not those adults are vaccinated or unvaccinated,” Dr. Carnethon says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents that costume masks are not a substitute for a face covering to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

We know the virus is more likely to spread inside, so experts say it’s best to say boo to indoor Halloween parties and celebrate outdoors, especially with younger kids who can’t be fully vaccinated by the holiday. “It is not safe to hold an indoor party with a large number of children unmasked. I think not offering food and drink indoors is critically important to keep any type of an indoor gathering safe,” Dr. Carnethon says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
Limiting trick or treating to small groups
Waiting your turn to avoid large clusters while trick or treating
Practicing good hand hygiene

6-year-old Talia Cheng can’t wait for Halloween. “I’m most looking for lots of skittles and chocolate,” she says. But she knows her peacock costume will have a very important accessory, a mask. “I wear my mask to be safe,” Talia says. “Our daughter will still wear a mask when she’s trick-or-treating and we will as well,” says Talia’s mom, Jessica Colman.

Colman adds they will also “definitely wash hands or use hand sanitizer as much as possible.” Like last year, Talia’s family says they will put a table of treats in the driveway.

According to a recent CBS News poll, more than six in 10 parents of school-aged children feel that kids who go trick-or-treating this year will be safe from the coronavirus, while just over a third think children who go trick-or-treating will be at risk for the virus.

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