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huntsville, alabama, city

Traditional trick-or-treating considered high risk activity to spread COVID-19

MADISON, Ala. — Trick or treating in 2020 is a little different. One-way paths, candy shoots and sanitizer can help slow the spread of COVID-19 but a local pediatrician says there’s more that needs to be done to keep people healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention breaks down Halloween activities into three categories: lower, moderate, and higher risk for spreading COVID-19.

“In a perfect world we just drive around kind of like waving at the Christmas lights. We all know that’s not going to happen,” says Dr. Jeff Brassart.

Dr. Jeff Brassart works at Cornerstone Pediatrics. He says ideally, people would celebrate Halloween within their own family unit. That’s a lower risk activity.

“You need to be selective in where you go so that you have some control of the crowds, you know the people that you’re going to go see and you feel comfortable that they are doing all the right things.”

According to the CDC, lower risk activities include:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with family or friends
  • Decorating your living space
  • Holding a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Spending time with people in your household

Moderate risk activities listed by the CDC include:

  • One-way trick-or-treating with individual goodie bags to grab and go while social distancing
  • Having small group get togethers outdoors with social distancing
  • Attending an outdoor costume party and wearing protective masks
  • Visiting pumpkin patches where people are sanitizing and social distancing
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with family friends and social distancing

Higher risk activities listed by the CDC include:

  • Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are given to children going door to door
  • Trunk-or-treats where treats are handed out from trunks
  • Crowded indoor costume parties
  • Haunted houses where people are crowded together and screaming
  • Hayrides or tractor rides with people not in your household

Door to door traditional trick or treating is a higher risk activity. Dr. Brassart says if you are going to trick or treat, you should frequently use hand sanitizer, wear masks and keep your distance from others.

“Handwashing, if someone says here reach in and grab some candy I don’t want to be the bad guy and say don’t grab candy but just make sure that you have sanitizer,” says Dr. Brassart.

Dr. Brassart says while research shows that children are not affected by COVID-19 to the same degree as adults with underlying conditions… children still get sick.

“My biggest concern and the reality is what they take home to thier grandparents, what they take home to a parent,” says Dr. Brassart.

He says people just need to use good common sense.

“I think you always have to be concerned that in these types of events, that people tend to forget that the recommendations are still the recommendations”

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