Editorial: COVID-19 makes Halloween a tricky holiday, so take precautions

Halloween is traditionally one of the more challenging holidays from a safety standpoint. Children, dressed in costumes that may limit their ability to see or be seen, walk through neighborhoods in search of treats -- no tricks -- often after the sun goes down.

Like most everything else in life, the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made Halloween even trickier. As COVID-19 cases surge across much of the country, we need to take special precautions as children fan out across Murray and Whitfield counties for Halloween.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that any holiday gathering may increase your chances of contracting COVID-19. Since Halloween trick-or-treating can be done outdoors, away from large crowds, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks. The CDC warns against traditional trick-or-treating where children go from door-to-door, and warns against holding large costume parties indoors.

"Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses," according to the CDC. "There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters."

Here are more Halloween tips from the CDC:

Make trick-or-treating safer

• Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.

• Give out treats outdoors, if possible.

• Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take.

• Wash hands before handling treats.

• Wear a mask.

Wear a mask

• Make your cloth mask part of your costume.

• A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.

• Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult.

• Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing

• Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you

• Indoors and outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time.

Wash your hands

• Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people.

• Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

• Parents: Supervise young children using hand sanitizer.

• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats.

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