Alabama’s latest deadly COVID-19 surge appears to be subsiding, and with Halloween approaching parents should be encouraged to learn that health officials say by following a few tips children should be able to enjoy the holiday safely.
“We know that being outside is low-risk compared to a lot of indoor activities, so we recommend enjoying as many fun activities as you can outside,” Dr. Erin DeLaney, a family medicine physician with University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Family and Community Medicine, told UAB News. “During the Halloween season, there are plenty of fun outdoor activities such as corn mazes, haunted trails, pumpkin carving and mummy races, so we really recommend taking advantage of these outdoor activities to reduce your chance of getting or spreading the flu and COVID-19.”
DeLaney reminded the public to wear reflective gear or lights to keep themselves safe when trick-or-treating at night, according to UAB News.
DeLaney recommended wearing a mask whenever indoors and to keep any indoor gatherings in well-ventilated areas. Health experts caution against wearing a costume mask over a cloth or surgical mask, which could make breathing more difficult, UAB News noted.
Avoid sharing food or drinks during the holiday, and hand out individually wrapped bags of candy instead of allowing multiple children to reach into candy buckets, experts said.
“Surface transmission is not as much of a concern when it comes to handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, but face-to-face transmission is a concern,” DeLaney told UAB News. “It would be best to continue one-way trick-or-treating this year where individual goody bags are placed at the end of the yard or on a porch so kids can grab and go rather than having that face-to-face contact.”
Carry and use hand sanitizer while trick-or-treating and wash hands thoroughly before eating candy when back at home, health experts say. Health officials continue to encourage the public to get the flu and COVID-19 vaccines.
“These last 19 months have been really difficult for a lot of people with a lot of fun activities being canceled; but by following these simple tips, we can make this a safe night and season for those of all ages to enjoy,” DeLaney said.