Halloween tips for 2020

September 25, 2020
Regional News

Boo! It's time for Halloween

It's with regret that we acknowledge that the annual bonfire will not be happening this year. Many thanks to the Lions and the community for making the event so special. We look forward to it next year.

With some obvious differences in this year's celebration, here are some tips from our health experts on keeping things festive, but safe:

Follow advice from your public health authority

Continue to follow advice from your local public health authority and the BCCDC. They will make recommendations and decisions around Halloween festivities, including limitations or cancellation if required. These recommendations and decisions will be based upon local rates of disease transmission and public health measures in effect, like gathering size limits. 

General advice during the season

No matter how you are celebrating, always assess your personal level of risk and take the following actions to help protect yourself and others.

Stay at home and away from others if you or someone in your household:

  • has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is waiting hear the results of a lab test for COVID-19
  • has been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19
  • feel sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • returned from travel outside Canada within the past 14 days
  • are in quarantine or isolation 

Trick-or-treating

For those trick-or-treating door-to-door:

  • if you or someone in your household is feeling unwell or meets any of these other conditions, stay home and away from others
  • trick-or-treat outdoors as much as possible
  • when appropriate, wear a non-medical mask or face covering 
    • be creative and build it into your costume, but know that a costume mask is not a substitute for a non-medical mask or face covering, and that a costume mask should not be worn over a non-medical mask or face covering because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe
  • trick-or-treat with your consistent in-person bubble
  • don’t gather on or crowd doorsteps
    • take turns one at a time and stay 2 m away from others
  • keep interactions brief with those giving out treats
  • avoid using your hands to ring doorbells or knock on doors, and avoid high-touch surfaces and objects; consider using your foot to gently “knock” on the door 
  • don’t sing or shout for your treats 
  • only trick-or-treat at places that are clearly celebrating
  • signs of participation include a lit porch light, a lit jack-o-lantern or decorations
  • only trick-or-treat at places where you feel comfortable that safety measures are being taken
  • clean your hands often, especially before and after handling your non-medical mask or face covering, after touching frequently touched surfaces, when you arrive home from trick-or-treating, and before and after handling or eating treats
  • help younger children understand how to wash their hands properly with a video on handwashing heroes
  • there is no need to clean or disinfect pre-packaged treats; however, it is important clean your hands before and after handling packaging, and before eating treats

For those trick-or-treating indoors or at other indoor events or gatherings:

If you trick-or-treat in indoor spaces, such as shopping malls and apartment buildings, you may be required to wear a non-medial mask or face covering. Follow the advice of your local public health authority on the use of non-medial masks or face coverings and other restrictions related to indoor gatherings.

In indoor spaces, it is even more important to maintain physical distancing and to keep encounters brief with those who aren’t part of your consistent in-person bubble.

Giving out treats

If you or someone in your household are feeling unwell or meets any of these conditions, your household shouldn’t participate in Halloween festivities.

  • Indicate you aren’t participating by: 
    • turning off porch lights
    • not lighting a jack-o-lantern
    • not putting out decorations
    • not answering the door
    • putting a friendly sign on your porch or door that indicates you are not participating this year.

To help maintain and encourage physical distancing, you may want to:

  • sit outside your door or in your laneway to welcome trick-or-treaters 
    • if you’re unable to sit outside to hand out treats you should clean and disinfect doorbells and knobs, handrails, and any other high touch surface often during the evening
    • keep interactions with trick-or-treaters short and encourage them to move along after receiving their treat from you.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing of 2 m cannot be consistently maintained
    • if you’re dressing up, consider including it as part of your costume.
  • Don’t leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab.
  • Consider using tongs, a hockey stick, or other similar tool to hand out treats.
  • Give out only purchased and pre-packaged treats.
  • Don’t ask trick-or-treaters to sing or shout for their treats.
  • Clean your hands often throughout the evening using soap and water and washing for 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. The use of gloves isn’t recommended.

Decorating for the season

  • When shopping for your pumpkin, maintain touchless shopping practices where possible. 
  • Avoid interactive decorations. 

Avoid decorations that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines.

Annual reminders

And don't forget about general Halloween safety tips!