Trick-or-treat safely with COVID-19 tips from local experts

Birmingham, Halloween, trick or treat
Are you ready for Halloween? Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

As with most things, COVID—19 will cause some changes to trick-or-treating this year. From costumes to passing out candy, here are some tips from local Birmingham experts on how to keep those ghosts, goblins—and germs—at a distance.

Before You Head Out

It’s easy to get caught up in Halloween festivities. But before you head out, ask yourself these questions:  

  1. Have you been exposed to COVID-19 within the past 14 days? 
  2. Do you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, it’s in everyone’s best interest to sit this one out. You can still binge on candy and watch scary movies at home, and who can say no to that?

Costume Tips

Birmingham, Halloween, trick or treat
Pumpkin time. Photo by Julia Raasch vis Unsplash

You can’t trick-or-treat without a costume. What tips do experts have during the year of COVID-19? It mostly comes down to masks. 

According to Youngblood, costume masks typically aren’t enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

“Halloween costume masks are often not sufficient. We need to use our typical, well-fitted, cloth masks to ensure the droplets coming from our mouths and noses are contained.”

Dr. Gigi Youngblood, Children’s of Alabama

As with other trick-or-treating years, you’ll also want to consider lighting up your family’s costumes with reflective tape or stickers and glow sticks. Flashlights are also a plus. This will help ensure drivers spot trick-or-treaters who are out and about. 

Traditional Trick-or-Treating with a Twist

Birmingham, Halloween, trick or treat
Safety is a must when trick-or-treating door-to-door. Photo by Haley Phelps via Unsplash

Planning to trick-or-treat from house to house? According to Dr. Gigi Youngblood of Children’s of Alabama, parents should be more involved this year to ensure kids follow COVID-19 precautions during Halloween festivities. 

“Parents will need to be very hands-on this year, even with older kids who might usually go trick-or-treating on their own. We will need to supervise our kids to make sure they are being good neighbors, waiting their turn to approach the treats, hand sanitizing between houses and keeping their masks on.”

Dr. Gigi Youngblood, Children’s of Alabama

Here are some tips to consider from Children’s of Alabama:

  • Sanitize hands between each house you visit. 
  • If your child likes to snack on candy between houses, consider bringing along a snack from home for them to munch on.
  • When you return home from trick-or-treating, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds. Be sure to help younger children who don’t yet have good hand-washing techniques. 
Birmingham, Halloween, trick or treat
I call all the Snickers! Photo by Vishnu Mk via Unsplash

So, should you sanitize any candy you receive from others? 

According to Youngblood, wiping down candy is not an effective way to control the spread of coronavirus. Instead, she suggests thoroughly washing your hands and wearing a mask prior to opening sealed packages with individual candies inside.

Along with COVID-19 tips, be sure to follow general safety tips like these:

  • Cross streets at corners where driver’s are more likely to see trick-or-treaters.
  • Use traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Use sidewalks or paths if available.
  • Walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible

Tips for Passing Out Candy

Birmingham, Jefferson County Department of Health, Halloween
Photo via Jefferson County Department of Health

Safety tips aren’t just for trick or treaters. They are also for those staying home and passing out treats. If you decide to keep your porch light on this year, here are some suggestions from the Jefferson County Department of Health:

  • Wear a mask, wash hands or use hand sanitizer when passing out candy and also when replenishing treats.
  • Pass out goodie bags. This will help eliminate germs on individually wrapped pieces of candy. 
  • Line goodie bags up for families to grab and go to help with social distancing.
  • Spread treats out at the end of your driveway or edge of your yard to prevent people from clustering around a bowl/your doorway. 

Encourage safe social distancing practices in your neighborhood this Halloween. Download this printable image from the JCDH to display at your home.

Help Make Halloween Safe

Birmingham, Halloween, trick or treat
Perfect Halloween decor, especially for 2020. Photo by Bee Felten-Leidel

Want to help make Halloween 2020 safer for families around the greater Birmingham area? Consider donating candy to One Stop Trick or Treat hosted by Ferus Artisan Ales in Trussville. 

Ferus will be taking donations to make goodie bags so kids can pick up all their Halloween goodies in one stop. The goal: to make at least 500 goodie bags. 

The deadline to donate is Monday, October 26. Learn more

What are your plans for Halloween this year? Let us know how you’ll be playing it safe on social @bhamnow.

Patience Itson
Patience Itson
Articles: 1445