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Halloween safety during COVID-19

Safety | October 20, 2020
young girl puts a mask on a jack-o-lantern
Creative tips for celebrating the holiday in new ways

Since COVID-19 continues to be active in the Pacific Northwest, families are looking for creative ways to celebrate holidays, including Halloween, in a safe manner.

After months of meticulous masking and hand washing, health care experts fear that the upcoming holidays may cause people to let down their guard. PeaceHealth Family Medicine physician Heather Bergstrom, DO says, “I worry that mask fatigue is setting in, and people are growing weary of social distancing. However, we must continue to be mindful that our efforts to stop the spread of the virus are saving lives.”

Dr. Bergstrom, a PeaceHealth family medicine practitioner in Vancouver, Washington, has great sympathy for the many experiences children are missing out on due to COVID-19.  “Halloween is on a Saturday this year, which would normally offer such a great opportunity to get together as a community. However, from Halloween through Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, it will be extremely important that we celebrate the holidays in socially distanced, safe and healthy ways.”

Many traditional Halloween activities such as costume parties can be high-risk for spreading viruses, and the Washington Department of Health is discouraging traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating this year. Dr. Bergstrom says it’s important to keep the holidays festive, but suggests creative new ways that protect our health:

  • Decorate your home for Halloween.
  • Carve pumpkins with members of your household or outside with neighbors or friends using separate tools/equipment.
  • Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
  • Visit an orchard or forest.
  • Set up an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt with your household members.
  • Hide Halloween treats in and around your house. Hold a Halloween treat hunt with household members.
  • Hold an outdoor costume parade or contest in your neighborhood so everyone can show off their costumes while remaining socially distanced.
  • Host an outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors, or an indoor movie night with your household members.

If you will be hosting a celebration, follow CDC tips for hosting gatherings and our local state/county recommendations.

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