Tips for celebrating Halloween amid the pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS — Many families may be looking for ways to celebrate Halloween this Saturday amidst the pandemic.  

While it may look different than years past, a doctor with Riley Hospital for Children says there are still many ways to enjoy the holiday safely. 

Trick-or-treating has been deemed a high-risk activity, but there are some precautions you can take if you decide to go that route. 

Dr. Brian Wager says it’s still possible, but maybe not in the traditional sense. 

He recommends what his family is doing this year: he and his wife filled little bags with candy and they plan on putting them on a table at the end of their driveway for kids to pick up. That way they don’t have to reach into a communal bowl. He also says be sure to wash your hands before filling those bags if you decide to fill them. 

Families can also do neighborhood parades for little ones to show off their costumes or a candy scavenger hunt. 

Wager says it’s important to maintain social distancing if you’re going to be around other people not from your household and be sure to bring hand sanitizer and make sure kids are using it frequently. 

“And if your kids are anything like my kids, I need to actually watch them use the hand sanitizer to make sure that they actually rub it in,” he said. “Because my kids will still try to pull a fast one on me. I’ll squirt some hand sanitizer in their hand and they’ll let three-quarters of it run off onto the ground and be done in three seconds, which just doesn’t do the job.”

It’s also important to remember safety tips outside of COVID-19. Like dressing in light-colored clothing and reflective gear and checking your candy before eating it. 

Police also say to be aware of your surroundings. It will be dark, so bring a flashlight and use sidewalks instead of walking in the street if you can. 

For those who don’t want to risk it, there are many other options IMPD officers recommend.  

“We are encouraging them to do things where they can practice social distancing. We are encouraging them to do online parties. Or car parties or parades, visiting pumpkin patches or apple orchards,” said IMPD Officer Samone Burris. 

Wager also recommends incorporating a cloth mask into your child’s costume, but not to put a Halloween mask on top of it because it may make it harder for them to breathe.  

These are all precautions he says can help out in the long run when it comes to celebrating other holidays. 

“If we take some of those common-sense things and do that, even in those times of celebration, like Halloween and Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas and winter holidays, we’ll have a better chance of being able to do all of those things rather than having to regress and having to go back to shut down mode if you will,” Wager said.

Families can also search the website Halloween2020.org to see what the positivity rate of COVID-19 is in their area. 

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