Halloween is always full of spooky fun. But a COVID-19 pandemic can add an extra layer of tricks that make the day uniquely scary. Here Lexington Medical Center physicians Lauren S. Matthews, MD, FAAP, of Lexington Pediatric Practice and Don Moore, MD, FACEP, of Lexington Urgent Care share guidance about responsible trick-or-treating this year.
Q: What’s important to know about children wearing masks during trick-or-treating?
A: (Dr. Matthews) When planning your child’s costume, try to make a cloth mask part of it. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask and also should not be worn over a cloth mask. Children ages 2 and over should wear a cloth face mask at all times.
Q: What’s the safest way to hand out candy?
A: (Dr. Moore) If you’re handing out candy, wear a mask and gloves and limit hand-to-hand touching. Consider putting individually wrapped candy outside in a bowl. Put the candy directly in the trick or treater’s bag. Don’t allow children to reach into the candy bowl. That way, only one hand is going into the treat supply and distributing candy to the children.
Q: What’s the best advice for families walking around together?
A: (Dr. Matthews) Try to stay at least six feet away from people who do not live in your household. Avoid lingering at a house for longer than a few minutes and allow only one group at the door at a time.
Q: What should you do with the candy when you get home?
A: (Dr. Moore) Wipe down the plastic packaging. Also, it’s important to tell children they cannot open and eat treats along the way - only after they get home and have washed their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds.
Q: What’s your advice for higher-risk populations like grandparents and people with underlying conditions?
A: (Dr. Matthews) Those groups should not participate in trick-or-treating this year. Instead, one idea is to walk and observe the celebration at a safe distance while wearing a cloth mask.
Q: Should we take hand sanitizer with us?
A: (Dr. Moore) Yes! Have all trick or treaters carry one of the convenient small hand sanitizer bottles and frequently clean their hands during the Halloween evening. Parents accompanying the children should have a bottle as well.
Lauren S. Matthews, MD, Lexington Pediatric Practice
Don G. Moore, MD, Lexington Urgent Care