Colorado health officials encourage alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating during pandemic

Concerns over Halloween during a pandemic.
Concerns over Halloween during a pandemic.(Pxhere/MGN)
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 2:19 PM MDT
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DENVER (KKTV) - State health officials in Colorado elaborated Wednesday on recommendations to celebrate Halloween safely during a pandemic.

Click here for all of the state’s guidelines on Halloween.

On the topic of masks, officials wanted to make it clear that costume masks are not a substitute for cloth face-coverings unless they are made from two or more breathable fabric layers that cover the nose and mouth, with no gaps around the face.

When it comes to the heart of Halloween for kids, trick-or-treating, health officials are encouraging alternatives to the traditional door-to-door method:

For example:

  • Line up individually wrapped treats at the end of the driveway or yard’s edge. Watch the fun, and enjoy the costumes from a distance.
  • Use a plastic slide, cardboard tubes, or plastic pipes to deliver candy from a distance.
  • Take kids on an outdoor, distanced scavenger hunt to look for candy or Halloween-themed items.

Whatever form your trick-or-treating takes, it’s safest to:

  • Stay in your own neighborhood.
  • Have adults accompany trick-or-treaters to help them follow precautions.
  • Stay with household members. Avoid mingling with groups from other households; stay at least 6 feet away from non-household members.
  • If going door-to-door, limit the time you spend at doorways.
  • Whether trick-or-treating or handing out candy, keep your COVID-19-protective masks on -- save the candy-eating for when you return home!
  • Follow regular Halloween safety tips such as decorating costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and carrying glow sticks or flashlights to help increase visibility among drivers.

CDPHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France said families should base their Halloween activities on how their community is handling the pandemic. The state uses a dial that shows where each county stands on coronavirus restrictions. For counties like Pueblo, which is at Safer at Home Level 2, the state suggests throwing a neighborhood face-mask decorating party with guests limited to 10. Families could also have an outdoor movie night if people wear masks and space themselves at least 6 feet apart. France said people should be spread farther apart if it’s a scary movie and people will be screaming.

“Even with outdoor events, we have to be reminding ourselves that our ultimate goal is to keep everybody safe in the community and as such, we should be careful about how we interact and choose the safest options,” he said.

For El Paso County and other counties at Safer at Home Level 1, the state says people can gather outside in groups up to 25.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said her family is getting creative this year.

“Our plans are to go to a nearby park, and the parents are going to hide candy in the park and kids are going to have sort of a cross between Easter and Halloween with a Halloween candy hunt in the park,” she said.

Whatever your family decides to do to celebrate the holiday, make sure everyone is safe. CDPHE said coronavirus cases have spiked after other holidays like the Fourth of July and Labor Day. State health officials are hoping they don’t see a similar trend with Halloween.

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