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Trick-or-treating is back this Halloween, however the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means there are extra factors to consider when planning your activities. The American Red Cross offers these tips and more to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
“Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the U.S. and with most communities returning to normal activities this school year, people should expect a higher volume of visitors in search of tricks and treats,” said Stacy Burks, executive director of the southern Missouri chapter. “Whether you’re handing out goodies or going door-to-door, with just a few simple considerations you can make sure your family and those around you are safe and sound.”
A Halloween event, organized by the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, is 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday in downtown Houston
Here are the top tips for parents to keep in mind while getting their kids ready for Halloween this year:
•Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a safe substitute for a cloth mask. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing difficult.
•Plan outdoor activities and avoid indoor events where the risk of virus transmission is higher.
•Bring hand sanitizer with you while trick-or-treating and use it after touching objects or other people. Wash your hands when you get home.
•Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups, and social distance from others around the neighborhood.
•Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen. Give kids a flashlight to light their way and consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
•Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance and make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door.
•It’s not only vampires and monsters people have to look out for. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.
•Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. Avoid running. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cross between parked cars.
•Only visit homes that have a porch light on, and never go inside.
•Make sure a grown-up checks the goodies before eating. Make sure to remove loose candy, open packages and choking hazards. Discard any items with brand names that you are not familiar with.
For those planning to welcome trick-or-treaters to their homes, follow these safety steps:
•Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
•Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters by setting up an area with individually bagged treats for kids to take. Wash your hands before handling treats.
•Maintain social distancing and wear a cloth mask.
•Light the area well so young visitors can see.
• Sweep leaves from your sidewalks and steps. Clear your porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid app for instant access to expert advice in case your ghost, goblin or superhero has a mishap. Use the Emergency app for weather alerts and to let others know you are safe if severe weather occurs. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.