Tips & Tricks: Here’s how to trick-or-treat safely during COVID-19

Limit your group, practice social distancing

Trick or treating is considered a 'higher risk' Halloween activity by the CDC. (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Parents and communities want to know if it is safe to go trick-or-treating. This is hard to answer. But if you are going out, Orange Park Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have some tips.

Want some good news? Experts do not think that surface spread is the main mode of COVID-19 transmission, Orange Park Medical Center said.

“I would say you’re okay to take the kids outside for limited trick-or-treating, but recognize it’s going to be very different from last year and prepare the entire family with the new safety rules,” Dr. Jennifer Chapman, Emergency Room Physician, said. “If you live in an area where there is still a high incidence of COVID-19 neither I nor the CDC recommends trick-or-treating door-to-door.”

Experts say if you live in an area where there is still a moderate incidence of COVID-19, you need to weigh if trick-or-treating is worth it to you and your family based on your specific situation. The easiest way to determine the COVID-19 risk level in your community go to where the Harvard Global Health Institute has an interactive map that details COVID risk level by county.

Another risk for this Halloween, you need to know who you are trick-or-treating with. 

“My advice would be to skip the Halloween parties this year and stick to outdoor trick-or-treating as your main family event, with proper social distancing,” Dr. Chapman said.

It’s recommended to limit your group to just your family or 3 or 4 kids at the most. Make sure the people you go with have been practicing social distancing.

Experts point out that trick-or-treat exchanges at houses need to be brief and socially distanced. And as an extra note of caution, put a lid on communal candy bowls. 

“This year it would be safer to not have little hands in big candy bowls and digging out the pieces they like the most.  I would also encourage kids to use hand sanitizer throughout the route and wash hands often and especially before eating,” Dr. Chapman said.

It’s also not a bad idea to give out pre-portioned goodies that can be placed in containers on the porch so children can grab and go.

For more information, visit the CDC website.

About the Author:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.