Health Dept. has tips on keeping Halloween safe

Oct 22, 2020 by

Published October 23, 2020

MELROSE — Everything is different in the fall of 2020. Melrose kids finally went back to their school buildings this week after a month of learning from home. The Red Raider sports teams — those that are allowed to play during the pandemic — are competing in shortened seasons. City government conducts itself, in many cases, from a distance. Businesses continue to suffer from reduced crowds due to required COVID-19 restrictions.

And the Chamber’s annual Halloween candy giveaway to youngsters has been canceled.

But Halloween itself has not been. For some people, it is traditionally one of the best nights of the year.

The city’s Health Department has some tips on enjoying a safe seasonal celebration. Its page on the city’s website includes guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of Public Health to minimize the spread of the coronavirus in Melrose and everywhere else.

• Trick-or-treaters should maintain six feet of physical distance from anyone not in their household.

• They should avoid large groups or clustering on doorsteps.

• Every effort should be made to ensure that a costume includes a mask that covers the nose and mouth and is effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19. For example, the mask fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, and should allow for breathing without restriction.

• Trick-or-treaters should carry hand sanitizer and wash their hands thoroughly before eating anything.

• They should not participate if they are not feeling well, exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

For those handing out treats:

• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• Consider lining up pre-packed treat bags for families on some sort of table located at the end of a driveway or yard.

• Wear a mask and maintain six feet of physical distance from any trick-or-treaters.

Everyone should avoid the following high risk activites:

• Attending crowded indoor costume parties or any other large indoor gatherings.

• Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.

• Participating in activities like hayrides or tractor rids if you cannot physically distance six feet from other participants who are not in your household.

 There are also several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. 

These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:

• Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them;

• Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends;

• Decorating your house, apartment, or living space;

• Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance;

• Having a virtual Halloween costume contest;

• Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with;

• Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.

Halloween 2020 may not be the best we’ve ever had, but we can still celebrate it and keep each other as safe as we possibly can at the same time.

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