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Tips for a safe Halloween during COVID-19

DALEVILLE, Va. – The year 2020 has dished out more tricks than treats, but there’s still a way to safely enjoy some spooky fun this Halloween.

Michelle Botkins is a mom of three little girls. She’s planning to set up a table with candy at the end of her Daleville driveway and wave from a distance.

“We would love to try to make it as normal as possible,” said Botkins. "We feel like that would be a really good and safe bet for our family to still have the Halloween experience, but make it a little safer.”

However, Darlene Bunting, who lives in Roanoke County, is just going to stay home, watch TV and order a pizza.

“I’m not handing out Halloween candy or taking my granddaughter trick-or-treating because of safety reasons," said Bunting.

Carilion Children’s Dr. Christopher Pierce said that traditional trick-or-treating is just too risky.

“That’s a lot of people, a lot of contacts. Not the best idea," said Pierce.

Instead, he recommends family scavenger hunts for Halloween decorations while walking around your neighborhood, carving or painting pumpkins, virtual costume contests or a family movie or game night.

The CDC also put out new guidelines for Halloween. Low risk activities include hiding candy in or around your home for your kids to find and decorating your house.

If you are going to participate in one-way trick or treating at the end of a yard or driveway with individually wrapped goodie bags, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.

Outdoor costume parties or Halloween movie nights, where small groups of people can still socially distance and wear masks, make the list of moderate risk activities.

High risk activities include attending crowded, indoor, costume parties, going to indoor haunted houses, going on hayrides with people not in your household or even traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community.

“Just have [Halloween] as a household," said Carilion Clinic Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie. "That’s, in my view, the safest thing.”

The CDC said people should also avoid decorating masks because some paints and markers contain toxic fumes. People should also not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because that could make it hard to breathe.

“Your Halloween mask is unfortunately not your COVID mask," said Pierce.

“Try and hold out this year and maybe next year will be a better year," said Bunting. "And just stay safe.”


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