New and old trick-or-treat safety tips

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(CLEVELAND CLINIC) — Preventing COVID-19 is top of mind as little ghosts and goblins head out on Halloween night.

If your community is allowing trick-or-treat during the pandemic, Adam Keating, MD, a pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic Children’s, reminds us that COVID-19 safety is frightfully important.

“It certainly makes sense to take precautions this year in masking, in having social distancing, in using some hand hygiene, and making sure that we’re not congregating into large groups,” he said.

As little ones go door-to-door, Dr. Keating said it’s best to wait until they get home to dig into their goodies.

“It’s a good idea for everyone to have good hand hygiene and wash their hands before and after eating candy for many reasons, including this,” he said. “I’d encourage kids not to eat their candy as they’re going along.”

If you’re handing out treats, be sure to wear a cloth mask and stay six feet away from trick-or-treaters – individual treat bags in the driveway is a good way to go.

And if you choose to hand kids candy, be sure to sanitize your hands between groups.

“We would rather not have large bowls of candy that kids are all reaching their hands into one after another,” said Dr. Keating. “Honestly, if you think about Halloween of the past, when a kid would wipe his nose and reach into the big bowl of candy – that probably wasn’t a great idea then either, we’re just all paying a little better attention.”

Traditional Halloween safety still applies. Dr. Keating reminds us that kids should be supervised and visible.

“Have a light around with you so that you can be seen by others, and you can see where you’re going,” he said. “And that kids are taking care to notice where traffic is.”

In addition, costumes should fit properly to avoid tripping, be reflective and fire resistant.

If your family isn’t comfortable trick-or-treating during the pandemic, Dr. Keating said there are many fun alternative ways to celebrate – like a backyard scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving, or even a virtual costume contest.

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