Celebrating the holidays during a pandemic can be tricky, and kids certainly feel that disappointment the hardest. Many traditional Halloween festivities, like trick or treating, haunted houses, and costume parties, risk spreading COVID. The good news is, you can still partake in some of these events with a bit of planning and a few safety precautions. With these six tips, your home will be sanitary and safe enough to welcome trick-or-treaters and your door and maybe even invite a few guests inside.
First, let’s cover the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations regarding the upcoming holiday:
- Wear a mask in indoor places outside of your home if you’re not fully vaccinated.
- Keep indoor gatherings small in size or congregate virtually.
- Avoid spaces with recycled air.
- Do not attend gatherings if you feel sick.
- Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
- Wash hands before handling treats.
Make sure none of your guests leave your party with the sniffles by keeping in line with this expert advice.
Keep the party an intimate size
Match the size of your gathering to the area of your indoor space. All guests should be able to move around the room comfortably while socially distancing at least six feet apart from one another.
Ensure good ventilation
Breathing in recycled air from your heating and cooling system greatly increases the risk of spreading germs. Consider opening up a few windows or moving the party outdoors to give everyone a little fresh air.
Provide single-serve food and drinks
When serving food and drinks, minimize the shareable dishes. Sharing utensils, drinking containers, and even handles can quickly spread germs from one hand to another. Instead, serve individually wrapped foods and single-serve beverages like canned or bottled drinks.
Keep plenty of washing/sanitizing materials on-hand
Make sure your guests have multiple destinations to wash their hands, and keep hand sanitizer or disinfecting hand wipes available especially near the food and drink area.
Minimize the use of door knobs
Designing a hands-free party is one of the best ways to keep germ sharing to a minimum. Keep doors open where possible and use pedal-operated trash cans. Stock the bathroom paper towels and place a garbage can near the door so guests can open the door with a paper towel instead of their bare hands.
Post signs around your home
Give your guests some guidance, placing instructional signs in high-traffic areas that give visitors tips on how to stay safe. For example, stick a sign near the food the says, “You touch it, you take it,” or place one in the common areas reminding guests to practice social distancing. You can also use these signs to reassure your guests that you took precautions to minimize the risk of infection before they arrived. Put them at ease with a note that says “Food was prepared with washed hands and a masked face,” and another informing them that “Surfaces in this home were sanitized.”
Trick-or-treating is such a big part of Halloween, especially for the kids, but the traditional method of handing a piece of candy to each child is not very COVID-friendly. A communal candy bowl is another way to spread germs since all those little hands will touch multiple pieces as they dig. Instead, try some of these options for giving out candy, not germs, this season.
Use your front lawn
If you want to keep your distance from those costume-clad kiddos but still want to see their smiling faces, attach treats to sticks or spoons and stick them all around your lawn. That way, each child will touch only their own treat, and you can give your best wishes from the porch.
Create a candy banner
Get creative this season and clip candy onto a piece of string and hang it between two posts or trees so each child can quickly grab their own piece.
Set up a self-serve candy station
You can also go the simple route and set up a table in front of your house with appropriately spaced pieces of candy. Children can come up to the table individually and grab a single piece without having to rifle through an entire bucket. Be sure to sanitize the table is sanitized at regular intervals.
Halloween certainly looks different nowadays, and it can be difficult to safely participate in your favorite festivities when you’re concerned about getting sick. You don’t have to avoid all the fun, though, as long as you’re prepared. With a few of these tips and tricks, you can celebrate safely whether you’re hosting friends and family for a spooky gathering or delivering sweet treats to the neighborhood trick or treaters.
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