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When social distancing and mask wearing were mandated earlier this year, many believed it would just be temporary. Yet as we approach the holiday season, it’s clear we are in this a little longer than we envisioned. Now, Halloween is just around the corner, and having our customary Halloween traditions like trick-or-treating might be witch-ful thinking. Many of our traditional activities might not be pandemic-friendly, but there are several ways to creep it real this fall.
“Since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, communities and families have had to shift how they celebrate life events, like birthdays and big spring and summer holidays,” said Evelyn Balogun, M.D., medical director, Inspira Urgent Care. “But Halloween in itself threatens the spread of this virus to entire communities.”
That is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released recommendations for fall and winter holiday celebrations, even offering alternative activities to keep the Halloween spirit alive without the risks of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
In the recently published guide, the CDC categorizes Halloween activities based on a spectrum ranging from low, moderate and high risk.
“If we take a look at how we celebrate Halloween, children go trick-or-treating door to door, line up to participate in costume contests or even run with friends and family through haunted houses,” said Dr. Balogun. “And even if these activities are held outside, they pose extremely high risks to you and your communities.”
The Halloween season is typically characterized by costume parties, hayrides and pumpkin picking—which are not optimal for a socially distanced climate. The CDC listed a multitude of low risk activities for children and their families, such as carving and decorating pumpkins, hosting a virtual Halloween costume contest or designating a Halloween movie night for your household.
“Of course, distanced gatherings exist in the gray area between low and high risk activities. The ‘safest’ social gatherings are those that are held outside, but because of the lowering temperatures, these might not be a viable option for much longer,” said Dr. Balogun.
For those that plan on trick-or-treating, the CDC recommends for communities and neighborhoods to map out a one-way route and individually wrap treats in bags for families to grab at a social distance.
“Just because it isn’t the Halloween we are used to doesn’t mean it won’t be SPOOK-tacular—it will just be different,” said Dr. Balogun.
If you begin to experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19, the best thing you can do for both you and your family is to call your primary care doctor as soon as possible. Inspira Urgent Care sites offer rapid and lab tests for COVID-19. In person and online visits are available. If you have trouble breathing and feel your symptoms are life threatening call 911. And, remember when things don’t go as planned, Inspira Urgent Care is here 8 am – 8 pm every day. You can schedule an Urgent Care visit online.