Healthy Living: Halloween disappointment and celebrating safely


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Halloween is going to look very different this year because of the pandemic and both the CDC and King County Public Health have some recommendations on how to stay safe. The CDC says many Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading the Coronavirus. Those include traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, indoor costume parties, haunted houses where people may be screaming, as well as hayrides and tractor rides with people not in your household.  

Dr. Jim Polo is the Behavioral Health Medical Director with Regence Blueshield and he says because kids often look forward to these things each year, there is inevitably going to be some disappointment, “Talk to them early so they know what to expect. Don’t tell children it’s not a big deal. It probably is to them and that’s ok.” 

He says it is important to validate these feelings of disappointment so they feel supported. Another thing Dr. Polo says parents can do is to get the kids involved in the decisions you are making when it comes to how you will celebrate Halloween, “Make it a game and make sure that you can do some things that they want to do that will help them deal with their disappointment.” 

Here are some alternate, low-risk activities you can do to enjoy the holiday this year. 

Dr. Polo says get creative! “Use your imagination. You can still dress up and consider having a scavenger hunt in your home and yard, hiding candy for children to find.” 

Use technology to your advantage! You could host online costume contests and pumpkin carving contests with friends. or set up a group chat so your kids can watch scary movies with friends. If you do venture out, you may end up in moderate-risk activity territory. 

Here are the tips from the CDC to make trick-or-treating safer:

*Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters 

*Give treats outdoors. You could even use a wrapping paper tube to slide the candy down into the kid’s trick or treat bags! 

*Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to grab and go 

*Wash hands before handling treats 

*Wear a mask 

“Consider dressing up but still using a mask, not a costume mask, an actual mask."

You can make the mask part of the costume but the CDC says do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing more difficult. 

Because things will feel very different for everyone, Dr. Polo says it’s really important that kids know that the things they are missing are not gone forever.  

“Halloween next year will come sooner than you think and they will get back to trick or treating in the future.” 

The CDC says if you participate in any high-risk activities or think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions for 14 days after the event to protect others. 


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