During the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people may not be sure what to do on Halloween. Should children be allowed to trick-or-treat? Are Halloween masks safe to wear? This holiday has always been one that has posed certain safety risks, and the risk for new infections has made it even more important to be careful.
What are the Typical Safety Guidelines?
Not all areas are allowing certain events to take place this Halloween, but some locations are doing activities. There may still be parties, gatherings, and trick-or-treating, depending on local regulations. For those who plan to participate in these activities, past safety guidelines are still in place. Children’s costumes should be properly sized so they will not trip and bright enough to be seen at night. Any masks worn should not obstruct their vision. Sharp accessories, like plastic swords, could be dangerous and should be looked at carefully or avoided altogether.
Trick-or-treaters under 12 years old should be accompanied and older children should be in groups. It is also smart to use flashlights and set curfews. Children should also stay on sidewalks, carry cellphones, and not approach dark houses. When someone must cross a street, it should be done with great care. Children should never go inside a stranger’s car or house to get a treat. When they arrive home, parents and caregivers should inspect all treats before allowing children to eat them. Only factory-wrapped treats should be eaten; anything homemade should be discarded.
How can Drivers and Pedestrians Stay Safe?
In order to prevent a car accident, drivers must remain extra cautious on Halloween. People who are out driving on Halloween should be alert for trick-or-treaters and give them the right-of-way. Children may be prone to jumping out in the street, especially when they are excited.
It is important to drive extra slow in neighborhoods where children are out on the streets. When entering and exiting driveways, motorists should check carefully for anyone who might be on the street or sidewalk. Once it starts getting dark, they should be even more careful since it is harder to see pedestrians at night. New drivers should be discouraged from driving on Halloween.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has additional recommendations that can make the holiday safer. They suggest being careful with face and body paint since some people are allergic to it. They also discourage the use of colored contact lenses; these are sold without prescriptions and can cause eye damage. Parents can attach reflective tape to their children’s goodie bags and costumes for added visibility.
Halloween Home Safety
Pumpkin carving is a lot of fun, but knives can cut small hands. Younger children can use art supplies, such as paint and markers, to decorate and let the adults carve the pumpkins. If one is planning to put candles in hollowed-out pumpkins, it is best to place them away from flammable objects and on flat surfaces; they should never be left unattended. A safer option is to use glow sticks or battery-operated, flameless candles.
If there will be trick-or-treating going on in the neighborhood, it is a good idea to keep the pets inside, and keep the outside lights on for better visibility. Residents can clean up their yards by removing debris and wet leaves from sidewalks and pathways. These are all potential falling hazards.
Should I Have a Halloween Party?
Like other parties, many Halloween gatherings contain alcohol, which can always pose dangers. Parents who let their children attend Halloween parties should know where the party is, if there will be adult supervision, and set curfews. Anyone attending a party should arrange in advance for a designated driver or rideshare service to drive them home.
Since Halloween parties often have many people, there are more risks. In-person Halloween parties during the pandemic can present significant health concerns, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented guidelines for parties. Local and state health organizations may provide limits on the number of people permitted for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and these may be subject to change.
Why are Indoor Parties Dangerous?
Location and duration of the parties are also important. Indoor parties have higher risks due to less ventilation and the fact that attendees will be sharing a limited amount of space. People who travel from other areas to attend may be coming from higher-risk areas where there are more cases, which can also make the likelihood of infection increase. The longer the party lasts, the better the chances are of spreading COVID-19.
If the community where the party is being held has high COVID-19 levels, this should also be noted. This information can usually be found on the town or city’s health department website. If there is a party, guests should wear masks and remain six feet apart.
How to Safely Trick-or-Treat During the Pandemic
Healthy Headlines has useful guidelines for trick-or-treating this year. Many parents are concerned about masks. Wearing a mask designed to prevent COVID-19 is the safer choice. Masks can be decorated with markers, glitter, and other items if they are worn at all times. It is important to remember that gaiters and bandannas are not as safe as cotton masks and surgical-style masks. It is not necessary to wear gloves since handwashing is more effective at preventing the spread of the virus.
There are also safer ways to give out treats. Having a group of children come to the door poses more risk than putting set amounts of candy into sealed plastic bags. These can be set outside on a table. Large groups of trick-or-treaters with more than three or four children are discouraged. Once the night is over, homeowners can sanitize their doorknobs and doorbells. Frequent handwashing is also encouraged. The idea of outside neighborhood sanitation stations has also been discussed, but some experts feel that this is unnecessary.
What are Some Safer Alternatives?
The CDC’s Halloween guidelines state that traditional trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, parties, hayrides, and haunted houses should be avoided due to the risks. Home-based celebrations are recommended. Different areas of Pennsylvania are using local guidelines for the holiday. It is important to research local areas about specific Halloween activities.
Families can find many creative ways to celebrate Halloween that are less risky than trick-or-treating and large gatherings. Outdoor community events that adhere to safety guidelines are not hard to find in many areas. Parks and other outdoor venues may have events that prioritize social distancing and wearing masks. Pumpkin patches and outdoor festivals are doable if people are not gathering in large groups. Hand sanitizer should also be used before and after touching anything.
Families can celebrate and prepare Halloween treats together. Pumpkin decorating is always enjoyable, and children can enjoy virtual costume contests and scavenger hunts. Another fun idea is to do a scary movie night where family members can dress up in costumes.
What Should I Do After a Halloween Accident?
It is important to be extra vigilant for safety hazards during any holiday, especially Halloween. However, since certain areas have different approaches to the holiday, final decisions are up to the families. If someone is hurt in an accident, they should speak to a lawyer after receiving medical attention. Depending on the circumstances, an injured victim may be able to collect compensation in a personal injury claim.
Bucks County Accident Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Advocate for Halloween Safety
Halloween is an enjoyable holiday, but there are many risks as well. If you become injured in an accident, one of our Bucks County accident lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. will help you. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 888-999-1962. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.