Another Halloween during the coronavirus pandemic is fast approaching, and while health experts say children can go back to traditional trick-or-treating this year, there are some important safety precautions to take.
Here are four quick tips to keep your ghouls and goblins safe this Halloween:
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that it’s an important time of year for children, so "go out there and enjoy Halloween.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in late September indoor Halloween parties weren't a good idea, but trick-or-treating outdoors was "absolutely" doable.
“I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups,” Walensky said on CBS’ 'Face the Nation.'
Don't participate if you or your children have COVID-19 symptoms
"We must stress that anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 or recently have been exposed to the virus should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not be giving out candy at their doors," Dr. George Askew, the Dep. Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services and Education in Prince George's County, told News4.
Hygiene is key
Askew said not to share masks or things like costume fangs that carry germs. Children also shouldn't reach into candy bowls or bags. Instead, Askew recommended those giving out candy prepare individually wrapped goodie bags or use a scoop or tongs to distribute treats.
Parents and children should also use hand sanitizer often, and avoid touching their eyes, noses and mouths as germs can easily spread that way, Askew said. The same goes for people handing out candy, of course.
When returning home with treats, make sure children wash their hands properly with soap and water before eating anything, he said.
It's also a good idea to avoid party games like bobbing for apples or other activities that might involve sharing items coming into contact with other people’s mouths or noses.
Mask up & social distance
Askew advised to opt for cloth face masks instead of or in addition to costume masks.
"Costume masks have mouth and nose openings and, when worn alone, do not provide the same protection as cloth face coverings," he said.
Also, sticking to a small group of family members can reduce the risk of getting the virus.
"If you choose to trick-or-treat door-to-door, only do so with members of your household," Askew said.
“The science and message are clear, we have the power to keep each other healthy and alive," he said.