Arizonans who aren’t sure how to celebrate Halloween this year due to COVID-19 now have guidance from the state’s health department.
“I’m pleased to say that trick-or-treating can be done safely,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, wrote in a blog post on Friday. She continued to share guidance of precautions parents and children should take while trick-or-treating.
“It’s no time to let down your guard since COVID-19 is still active in our communities,” Christ said in the statement. “We just need to follow the steps we’ve all been taking to help curb the spread in recent months.”
The coronavirus pandemic is not over and with many looking forward to celebrating the holiday, Pima County, the Centers for Disease Control and other national and state organizations have released guidance.
Christ wrote that as long as proper cloth masks — not costume masks — are worn, there is less risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus.
She also shared tips for parents to tell their children, such as suggesting that trick-or-treaters ring doorbells with their elbows.
Other tips parents should know to keep their children safe include only trick-or-treating with people in your household and washing hands or using hand sanitizer before digging into any candy.
For people passing out candy, Christ has some tips as well. One way to keep socially distant is by putting tape down on sidewalks and driveways to keep lines spread out, she explained.
“You may want to consider leaving individual bags or cups filled with goodies for kids to take,” Christ said in the statement. “A fun way to avoid close contact is making a game of tossing (underhand, please) wrapped candy into each kid’s bag.”
Also, Christ recommends making hand sanitizer, as well as candy, available to trick-or-treaters who visit.
While making recommendations about trick-or-treating, Christ also mentioned other ways to celebrate the holiday while staying at home.
“Some activities to try instead of traditional Halloween parties include holding virtual costume contests and creating a drive-through haunted house,” she wrote.
For parents, children and homeowners, Christ urged anyone feeling ill to stay home.
She closed the statement with the slogan, “#MaskUp when you mask up.”
There has been mixed messaging in regards to the holiday. Maricopa County Public Health has yet to release local guidance on Halloween safety. Pima County, where Tucson is located, said residents should avoid activities including trick-or-treating in a Sept. 15 announcement.
“It is difficult to maintain proper physical distancing on porches and at front doors, and sharing food is risky whether reaching into a shared candy bowl or being given candy by hand,” the guidance reads.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, lists “traditional trick-or-treating” among “higher-risk activities” alongside indoor events and trunk-or-treating. The CDC recommends one-way trick-or-treating, in which goodie bags are left outside for families to pick up, as a relatively safer option.
A full list of tips for staying healthy this Halloween is available on the Arizona Department of Health Services blog.
Further recommendations are available at halloween2020.org.