The scary fun of Halloween is around the corner.
So, unfortunately, is another wave of COVID-19.
We are all eager for the upcoming series of traditional holiday activities that we usually enjoy with friends and families. This year, WellSpan Health and other medical experts are encouraging us to look for safer alternatives at Halloween.
What is the best way for your family to stay healthy during the scary season? A few simple things to keep in mind, based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
- Continue to wear a mask and observe social distancing when you are around those who are not in your household.
- In this season of masks, what type is best?
- A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
- Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth face mask if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.
Eugene Curley, M.D., medical director of WellSpan Infection Prevention, encourages people to continue to stay safe.
“COVID is still very active in southcentral Pennsylvania. Our staff is treating rising numbers of patients in our hospitals,” he said. “As warm weather ends, and we return indoors, we need to remember to continue to take precautions. We are doing this for each other and for the health of our communities.”
Safer, lower-risk activities to consider for Halloween
- Carve or decorate pumpkins with members of your household inside, or outside at a safe distance with neighbors and friends.
- Hold a Halloween scavenger hunt, where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk through your neighborhood. Find a scarecrow! Find three pumpkins! Find something scary looking!
- Stage a virtual Halloween costume contest.
- Have a Halloween movie night with your household members. Or hold an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family and friends, with people spaced at least 6 feet apart.
- Participate in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard). People preparing the goodie bags should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
- Hold a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.
- Visit pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced and people are able to maintain social distancing.