The pandemic is still with us as Halloween 2020 approaches! With care and creativity, the silly, spooky spirt of the holiday can safely haunt the late October air without the spread of tricky COVID-19. The safety tips gathered in this article will cover COVID-19 precautions for celebrating the holiday, as well as how to keep you and your trick-or-treaters safe on the dark streets.
Celebrate Halloween safely with these COVID-19 precautions:
- Wear a cloth face covering anytime you are with people not from your household, whether indoors or outside. Remember, a plastic mask that comes with a child’s costume is not protective. But, do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can make breathing more difficult. Get your wheels turning and creatively to incorporate a face mask into your costume.
- Avoid confined spaces. Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities, but if you’re indoors, make sure to have proper ventilation, and even open doors and windows to the extent possible.
- Avoid close contact with people outside of your household. Stay at least six feet away from people who are not part of your household. Caution your kids to wait their turn and not rush a bowl of candy with a group of other kids. Avoid gatherings, events, or parties that violate the gathering limitations outlined in Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Plan.
- Wash or sanitize your hands (and the hands of little ones) often. If you’re going out, take hand sanitizer.
- Stay home if you are sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. And, if you have symptoms or you’ve been in close contact to someone with COVID-19, get a COVID-19 test. Don’t open your door for trick-or-treaters if you are sick or have been exposed to the virus.
- If you give out treats, greeting large groups of kids at your door is not recommended, but, sitting outside in a cloth face covering six feet away from a big bowl of candy or treat bags and complimenting the kids on their costumes as they choose a treat can be safe and fun. Dress warmly, play spooky music, and sip on a hot cup of tea or apple cider.
Now that we’ve covered COVID-19, the rest of our safety tips will focus on how to prevent pedestrian-motorist collisions. On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween as on any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids USA.
Safety tips for trick-or-treaters!
- Costumes should be easy to see out of and safe for walking in. Halloween masks that go over the eye area should have large eye holes, or choose face paint as a safer option. Leave any ill-fitting or precarious costume shoes at home, and choose footwear suitable for walking around safely. Pin up any parts of costumes that trail so they don’t cause tripping.
- Adults should accompany children during trick-or-treating. (Also, adults have the special job of inspecting all candy at home in good light before it’s consumed.)
- Be seen! Kids should carry flashlights or glow sticks, and attach reflective taps to costumes. Costumes light in color are more visible to motorists.
- Walk; don’t run. Always cross streets in groups. Don’t assume a car is stopping before you enter the road. Kids should be cautioned to not cut into the street between parked cars and should instead cross at crosswalks and intersections, where possible. It’s so easy for the little ones to be excited and start running where they shouldn’t. Help them stay safe around moving vehicles.
- If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic!
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Exercise special caution when driving during trick-or-treating. Between approximately 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., expect extra foot traffic, and be ready to brake for excited children darting into the road.
- Take it slow! Drive under the speed limit in residential areas.
- Don’t be a distracted driver. Turn down the “Monster Mash” on the car stereo, and stay focused on the road.
- Be aware of your surroundings, scanning corners and intersections for kids on the move. And take special care when pulling out of driveways or into the street.
- When unloading costumed kiddos from a vehicle, have them exit curbside to keep them out of the street.
- If there is a vehicle stopped in the road, be patient and don’t pass it. Children may suddenly unload into the roadway or run into the street to reach the vehicle.
- If you see an intoxicated driver, report them to law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.
Halloween can also be a success as a fun night at home with ghost stories or (not-so) scary movies! Or, hide candy around the house, paint pumpkins, or do a costume photo shoot! Whatever delights your Halloween holds, keep safety in mind for you and your little goblins. And, if you’re still looking for a costume idea, we think firefighter is a winning look every year!
Additional resources and downloads:
- SVFD Halloween Fire Safety Tips (PDF)
- Safe Kids Halloween Safety Tips (PDF)
- Candle Safety (PDF)
- Jack o’ Lantern template (PDF)
- Sparky Spooky Sheet (PDF)
- Washington Department of Health: Halloween Safety https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/SpecialTopics/HalloweenSafety