Traditional family activities like trick-or-treating create fun moments and memories, but the effects of COVID-19 on this Halloween will bring about change for the spooky excitement.
You can still ensure a special night for your little ones and all the ghouls, goblins and ghosts in your neighborhood by following safety measures aimed at keeping everyone healthy on All Hallows’ Eve. Consider these tips for safe trick-or-treating from the experts at the National Safety Council and leading candy maker, Mars Wrigley.
• Buy individually wrapped candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Fun-size packs are one of the easiest forms of candy for trick-or-treaters to grab and go.
• Create fun, individual candy goody bags for a no-touch option for trick-or-treaters.
• Make sure your yard is well-lit; replace any burnt-out light bulbs.
• Create signs encouraging trick-or-treaters to stay 6 feet apart and display them in your yard.
• Don’t hand out treats if you are not feeling well.
• Consider socially distanced options such as “trunk-or-treating,” during which prepackaged goodies are handed out, or a virtual costume parade. Alternately, you can use a tool like Mars Wrigley’s “TREAT TOWNTM,” an app-based digital experience for families to virtually trick-or-treat for real candy. It offers Halloween fans of all ages the ability to create personalized spooky avatars, customized decorations for your in-app “door” and the ability to “knock” on the doors of friends and family across the country. Visit Treat-Town.com to find more information.
• Make trick-or-treating care packs with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and extra face masks.
• Help little ones clean their hands throughout the night.
• Maintain a distance of 6 feet from other groups of trick-or-treaters, allowing one group to collect candy at a time.
• Wear face masks and reflective tape or clothing and carry flashlights or glow sticks if you’re walking in the dark.
• Do “mask checks.” Stop in a safe place and make sure young children’s masks are covering their mouths and noses.
• Use sidewalks and crosswalks. Don’t cross the street between cars and be as visible as possible as drivers may be distracted.
• Consider setting up a grab-and-go “candy corner” for visitors, inclusive of hand sanitizer and treats.
• Wash your hands when you get home.
• Sanitize candy wrappers before eating or let it sit for 24 hours.
• Follow the “when in doubt, throw it out” rule. Throw away any candy that is open, ripped or has torn packaging, an unusual appearance or pinholes. Discard any homemade items made by people you don’t know.
• Watch for choking hazards. If you have a young child, make sure candy he or she collected isn’t a choking hazard. If it is, discard it.
• Keep candy away from pets, especially chocolate and sugar-free gum, which can be poisonous for your furry friends.
Handing out treats from home
If you’re staying home to hand out treats to the superheroes, ghosts, princesses and other little guests that arrive on your doorstep, consider these ideas to encourage safety and fun:
• Minimize the number of hands reaching into a bowl. Find fun, hands-free ways to give candy to trick-or-treaters. You can place candy on your lawn or driveway, so trick-or-treaters don’t have to crowd around your front door, touch handrails or knock.
• Move out of the way any items that children could trip over and keep pets inside.
• Stand outside when handling treats, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer often. Consider keeping a large bottle of sanitizer near you for visitors to use as well.
• Allow one small group at a time at your door.
• Give out one set of treats at a time to minimize hands reaching into a common bowl. For example, fun-size packs of treats like M&M’s and SNICKERS offer plenty of options and are easy for trick-or-treaters to grab and go.
Source: Mars Chocolate North America/Family Features