INDIANAPOLIS, IN—In just a few weeks one of the highlights of the fall season will be upon us; Halloween.
But for many families, what Halloween will actually look like this year is an unknown.
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines warning against door-to-door trick-or-treating and large group activities this Halloween.
“Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” the CDC said.
In places like Los Angeles city officials initially canceled trick or treating due to COVID concerns, but after public outcry, the decision was quickly reversed. City officials instead issued a warning recommending against it.
Here in the Hoosier state, a handful of localities like Brownsburg have already outlined their plan for Halloween, including designated hours and COVID protocols.
As of this week, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office says a Halloween plan for Marion county is still in the works.
Health officials, such as Dr. Blake Froberg with Riley Children’s Hospital say trick-or-treating could end up being a personal choice for many families. However, Froberg stresses if your family does go out, you should follow basic COVID guidelines, practice social distance, make sure kids wear protective masks, and have lots of hand sanitizer on standby.
He also has a recommendation for what to do once all that candy is collected.
“I think it’s reasonable if you want to be very cautious to allow some time between when you trick or treat and when you enjoy the candy, which I know will be hard for younger kids, but waiting until the next day or so could offer some benefit as far as less risk of contamination,” Froberg said.
Froberg adds even if trick or treating remains unchanged this year, it might be in the best interest of families to conduct their own scaled down version, in a controlled bubble with people you know as a way to increase your safety.
“Obviously, interacting with people that you’re not used to interacting with and you don’t know their health status is always a risk. So if you’re going door to door, and don’t know if that person is sick, or how they’ve handle the candy, or how they interact with your children, that’s more of a risk than setting something up with the people you’ve already been around,” Froberg said.
“You can create a situation with less risk of infection by being creative and maybe creating an alternative to Halloween,” he added.
Froberg recommends Halloween2020.org as another good resource. It partners with Harvard and includes the latest numbers, searchable to your specific county, along with the latest guidelines from the CDC.