The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has released a comprehensive list advising on how to safely celebrate Halloween amid the pandemic.
In early September, 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.
“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 earlier.
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One of the main pieces of advice from the BCCDC is to skip Halloween parties and opt for smaller activities, such as movies, that could be celebrated within a household or social group.
“Indoor gatherings, big or small, put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19,” says the BCCDC.
The health authority says that if anyone does attend a small party, it should be kept within their social group. This means knowing everyone in attendance, avoiding communally shared items like snacks and drinks, and opting to be outside or in a well-ventilated space when possible.
Any Halloween props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines, should also be avoided.
The BCCDC has also suggested making a non-medical face mask or face covering a part of your chosen Halloween costume. Make sure not to double up with a costume mask though, as it’ll likely be more difficult to breathe.
Naturally, anyone venturing out should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer often. And households that are opting out of the festivities are advised to turn off their porch lights.
Trick-or-treaters are asked to respect homes that have the lights out and to stick to a local neighbourhood this year. Busy or indoor areas such as malls should be avoided since there may not be enough space to distance. And similar to other celebrations and small gatherings, trick-or-treating groups should be limited to six people, says the BCCDC.
Anyone participating is also reminded to wash their hands before going out, upon returning home, and before enjoying any treats. Those who plan on enjoying treats as they go should keep hand sanitizer.
“You don’t need to clean every treat,” says the BCCDC. “You should instead wash your hands after handling treats and not touch your face.”
How to safely hand out treats
Households that opt to hand out treats are encouraged to “get creative,” whether that means using tongs, a baking sheet, or making a candy slide.
Health authorities also suggest handing out treats individually, rather than with a shared bowl. Also, be sure to only hand out sealed, pre-packaged treats.
Treat-givers are also advised to wear a non-medical face mask to “be more outside than inside” when possible.
“If you can, stand outside your door to hand out treats,” says the BCCDC. “The kids won’t need to touch the door or doorbell.”
If that’s not possible, homeowners are reminded to clean and disinfect doorbells, knobs, handrails, and other high-touch surfaces throughout the evening.