Halloween will look a little different this year for everyone because of the COVID. That includes our great state of Washington. However, It can still be celebrated while practicing some simple precautions.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Halloween in Seattle or the surrounding areas, the same COVID rules apply. These include; wearing a cloth face covering while making sure the face-covering fits snugly over your nose and mouth. And coincidently, Halloween is the optimal holiday to wear a mask as you can incorporate it into your costume. If it's a chilly October night (pretty standard for Washington state), a face cover tends to keep your face and body warm by retaining body heat.
Don’t forget the other COVID rules, like avoiding confined spaces (and as usual, outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities). If participating in an outdoor event is impossible, just avoid indoor events that are crowded, poorly ventilated, or in a fully enclosed indoor space. Avoid close contact with people outside of your household, and maintain at least six feet away from all other people who are not part of your comfortable social circle. Wash or sanitize your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. And as usual, stay home if you are sick or recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
If you do decide to go trick-or-treating, follow some simple tips to keep you safe. For instance, the repeated suggestion is to stick with your household members and maintain at least six feet of distance from any non-household members. Wear a cloth face covering or mask if older than age two (the covering does not need to be medical grade). Ensure the mask or face covering is snug around your nose and mouth and does not have holes. A plastic costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face covering. Wash your hands before and after trick-or-treating and bring plenty of hand sanitizer with you while trick or treating.
At this time, it is still ok to pass out treats. Try to limit exposure to people outside your household. When handing out candy, keep it to individually wrapped treat bags—reducing the number of people who would typically touch items in a communal bowl. If possible, place treats on a table in your driveway or yard to avoid crowds at your front door. To be part of the activities and view your trick-or-treaters, sit in a chair in your driveway, garage, yard, or porch and maintain at least six feet of distance from the treat table. Another great idea is to place a few markers (maybe mini pumpkins) six feet apart to signal a line and keep trick-or-treaters distanced while waiting for treats. Be sure to remove obstacles from sidewalks and paths such as garden hoses, toys, bikes, and lawn decorations. Other essential tips are to replace burned-out porch or yard lights; keep candlelit jack o’ lanterns away from where little ghouls might tip them over or get burned. Clear wet leaves from sidewalks and steps. Keep dogs away from the door and other places where people will gather.
Before hitting the trick or treat trails with your kiddo(s), remember some of the conventional safety tips. Be sure a costume mask fits securely and doesn't obstruct a child's vision. Put reflective tape and stickers on costumes and treat bags so that drivers can see youngsters easily. Maybe even give your trick-or-treaters flashlights to find their way in the dark (and find any other goblins in the way). Sturdy shoes are essential on dark, wet streets. Even for little princesses, mom’s high heels aren’t a good idea. Make sure costumes are flame resistant and short enough to avoid tripping. Be sure the swords, knives, and other costume accessories are soft and flexible.
Remind children NOT to eat candy until inspected at home. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious. Parents of very young children should remove choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys. Be extra careful with kids who have allergies – ingredients aren’t always clearly listed on individually wrapped candies. Wash your hands before opening and eating those treats; for additional covid precautions, allow your candy to sit by itself in an outdoor area for at least an hour to avoid virus exposure. Experts do not have enough data to know if the virus can easily transfer on surfaces, but it is better safe than sorry.
You may ask what if I choose to host a party? First and foremost, as with any get-together, start with a clean and sanitized home. Guaranteeing your home is spic and span and virus-free. You can choose a local cleaning service like Rain City Maids to check this task off your to-do list. Keep the guest list small and intimate. Keeping your home or party space well ventilated is very important. Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that it is safe and feasible based on the weather. Avoid close contact with people outside of your household. Stay at least 6 feet away from all other people who are not part of your safe circle. Choose prepacked foods whenever possible to avoid any contamination. To go an extra step, have additional masks, kids and adult sizes, and sanitizer readily available for your guests. Avoid games and activities that have close contact.
Traditions and holidays are vital for mental health for you and your family. While this year’s holidays will be different, that doesn't mean it has to be without enjoyment. Happy Halloween from the Rain City Maids family!