Article at a Glance
- Guidelines for children and parents to follow to avoid Covid-19.
- Many parents don’t talk to their kids about safety every Halloween.
- Use a Trick-or-Treating Safety Contract as a memorable and effective way to remind children how to be safe.
Whether your kids are old enough to go trick-or-treating alone or if you will be tagging along, it is important to talk to your children about safety beforehand. Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for pedestrians, and children need to understand how to stay safe. This year it is especially important to inform them of the CDC guidelines to follow during the holidays to avoid transferring or contracting COVID-19.
Children should be encouraged to maintain six-feet of social distance from other groups, wear a protective mask at all times, and use hand sanitizer when touch is unavoidable. Adults handing out candy should place candy directly in children’s bags without touching the child or the treat bag.
While there are many ways children can celebrate Halloween, some activities do have a higher risk of spreading Covid-19 than others.
Many traditional Halloween activities pose a high-risk for spreading Covid-19. High-risk activities include:
- Trick-or-treating door to door
- Bobbing for apples
- Visiting an indoor haunted house
- Trunk-or-treating with cars lined up in a parking lot
- Indoor Costume parties
- Hayrides or tractor rides with people outside your household
Moderate-risk activities that are less likely to spread the virus when physical distancing can be maintained and protective masks are worn and include:
- Grab & Go Trick or Treating where treats are lined up outside rather than passed out
- Outdoor costume parades
- Visiting an outdoor haunted forest
- Outdoor movie night with family and friends
These alternatives to traditional Halloween activities pose a low-risk of spreading Covid-19.
- Carving pumpkins; indoors with household members or outdoors with family and friends
- Halloween scavenger hunts (around the house or coordinated in the neighborhood)
- A virtual costume contest
- Indoor movie night with household members
- Trick or treat from room to room in your house with household members
Surprisingly many parents don’t talk to their kids about safety every Halloween. Reminding your kids every few years isn’t enough for it to really sink in. Consider adopting a new Halloween tradition this year—the Trick-or-Treating Contract! (This contract is specially formulated to be used during the COVID-19 pandemic)
Contracts are a positive and memorable way to help your children understand what is expected of them. Once it is all in writing and your children have signed it, it is hard for them to say that they did not understand something or that you had forgotten to talk about it. Plus it lets your children know that you are serious about safety and helps you make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
This is a sample contract. Add anything that is applicable to your area or family. You might even want to ask your kids for suggestions.
In order to go trick-or-treating this year, I, _____________ , promise to:
- Never go trick-or-treating alone. I will always stay with the group or a responsible adult.
- Wear a safety mask at all times. Costume masks do not replace a safety mask.
- Stay six feet apart from other groups.
- Remain germ-free throughout the night by using hand sanitizer when touch cannot be avoided.
- Wait to eat my candy until an adult has been able to make sure it has not been tampered with and the outside has been properly sanitized.
- Not eat too much candy. I will eat no more than ____ pieces tonight.
- Use a flashlight and avoid dark streets. Not only will this help me see, but help me be seen by drivers.
- Stay on sidewalks and not walk in the street.
- Not run out from between parked cars.
- Not run across lawns. There may be obstacles that are not easily visible at night.
- Walk carefully from house to house.
- Look both ways before crossing the street and to only cross at corners or crosswalks.
- Only visit well-lit homes.
- Not eat or take homemade goodies.
- Not accept rides from strangers.
- Not go inside any of the houses.
- Stick to my own neighborhood where I know or am familiar with the people.
- Make sure my parents know where I am at all times.
- Contact my parents immediately if I see anything that scares or worries me.
- Be home by _________. Wash hands as soon as I get home.
- Have a wonderful time!
Halloween Safety Tips For Parents
Here are a few more safety tips that you will want to remember:
- Children under the age of 12 should always have an adult with them while trick-or-treating.
- Do not hand out candy or go Trick-or-Treating if you have COVID-19 or any symptoms.
- Do not give children homemade treats.
- Wear a protective mask while handing out candy or taking children Trick-or-Treating. Costume masks do not replace virus-protection masks. Do not wear together as it could prohibit breathing.
- Ensure everyone is staying six feet apart from one another.
- Have hand sanitizer readily available for yourself and the children.
- Don’t give toddlers or babies small, hard candies—they are choking hazards.
- Try to find some healthier alternatives to candy for trick-or-treaters. Things like stickers or Halloween-themed snacks are a good option.
- Keep your house well lit and the pathway up to your door free of obstacles.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and never leave them unattended. Consider finding alternatives like battery-operated candles.
- When driving on Halloween be extra careful and watch for trick-or-treaters.
- On Halloween, children are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a car.
- When selecting a costume for your child look for something that is flame resistant and easy to walk in. Try to use face paint instead of a mask. If you have to use a mask make sure the mask doesn’t hamper your child’s vision or restrict their breathing. Any costume accessories like knives and swords should be flexible and soft.
- While trick-or-treating, use reflective tape on children’s costumes to make sure they are visible to drivers.
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