With a Halloween that will undoubtedly look different this year now just days away, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has shared its guidelines on gatherings, candy collection, and everything in between.
For children and families, the BCCDC encourages “less social” and “more local” Halloween events this year.
People are being encouraged to skip Halloween parties, trick-or-treat in small groups in their neighbourhood, and “get creative” when it comes to handing out treats.
When it comes to candy collection, the BCCDC offers these guidelines:
- Respect homes by staying away if the lights are out
- Keep to your own neighbourhood
- Avoid trick-or-treating in busy areas or indoors (in places like malls) since there may not be enough space to distance (indoor spaces may require a non-medical mask or face covering)
- Trick-or-treat in a small social group (stick to six)
- Leave space between you and other groups to reduce crowding on stairs and sidewalks
- Wash your hands before you go out, when you get home, and before eating treats
- Keep hand sanitizer with you if eating treats on the go
- You don’t need to clean every treat; you should instead wash your hands after handling treats and not touch your face
Handing out treats and decorating your house
When it comes to candy collection, the BCCDC recommends the following:
- Use tongs and a baking sheet or make a “candy slide” to give more space when handing out candy
- Hand out individual treats instead of offering a shared bowl
- Only hand out sealed, pre-packaged treats
- Wear a non-medical mask that covers your nose and mouth while handing out treats
- Be more outside than inside
- If you can, stand outside your door to hand out treats; then kids won’t need to touch the door or doorbell
- If you’re unable to sit outside to hand out treats, clean and disinfect doorbells, knobs, handrails, and any other high-touch surfaces often during the evening
- If you are decorating, avoid props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines
- Help make trick-or-treating more accessible to everyone by handing out treats from the bottom of your stairs or at your curb-side
Health officials also state that no matter how people choose to celebrate Halloween this year, there are general guidelines that everyone should follow:
- Turn off your porch light and stay at home if you are sick or self-isolating
- Try including a non-medical mask or face covering as part of your costume; costume masks should not be worn over non-medical masks or face coverings, as that may make it difficult to breathe
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often
For those planning to celebrate with other people:
- Keep it within your social group (stick to six)
- You should know everyone who attends, no plus ones
- Follow guidelines for safer celebrations
- Don’t pass around snacks, drinks, smokes, tokes, and vapes
- Be more outside than inside
- Keep your space well-ventilated with windows open
- Avoid using props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines
- Be careful with hand sanitizer and open flames, as hand sanitizer is very flammable
Speaking about Halloween celebrations recently, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that British Columbians would likely be able to celebrate the holiday — but like many other things, it would look a little different.
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“The things that we are looking at is you know we cannot have those big parties where lots of people are getting together — whether it’s young people partying in costumes or the trick-or-treating. So we have advice to people about how to do that in a safe way,” she said at the time.”
The advice comes as BC reported its highest three-day total of 817 new coronavirus cases on Monday.