Social distancing may have put a damper on Halloween festivities last year but kids can safely get out their costumes this year. Magna Dias, MD, Chair of Pediatrics at Bridgeport Hospital and Regional Medical Director for Inpatient Pediatric Services at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital offered a few tips for families to have a safe and healthy Halloween.
Is it safe to go trick-or-treating?
Many kids were disappointed last year when trick-or-treating was cancelled in many communities due to COVID-19. Thankfully, our rates of infection have remained low in Connecticut due to masking and the high rates of vaccination, making trick-or-treating much safer this year. “As an outdoor activity, trick-or-treating is one of the safest activities for families,” said Dr. Dias. To make trick-or-treating even safer, travel in small groups. If vaccinated and unvaccinated kids are together and cannot socially distance, they should wear a mask.
Should kids wear masks outside?
If kids are in a crowd, they should wear masks. If trick-or-treaters are from the same household or if they are in a small group of vaccinated kids, masks are not necessary. It is easy to incorporate masks into many costumes. However, it is important to remember that Halloween masks do not count as a COVID-19 safe face covering! When it comes to Halloween parties, unvaccinated kids should skip indoor events with kids unmasked.
Should I sign my child up for their COVID-19 vaccination if the vaccine gets approved for kids 5-11?
“We are very excited as pediatricians that a vaccine will be available for school age children soon. I would encourage parents to sign up to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible to have maximum protection for the upcoming holidays,” said Dr. Dias. However, Dr. Dias notes that for Halloween, there will only be a little protection as it takes one to two weeks for us to see the protection take effect. So if kids get their shot right before trick-or-treating they should still wear a mask when they are in a crowded area.
Any other tips for a safe Halloween?
To have a safe Halloween, we need to remember the things that can help make Halloween safe even outside of the pandemic: use lights or reflective clothing for kids so kids can be seen by cars and cross the street at crosswalks when possible; also stay off devices while walking. Unvaccinated adults who are giving out candy directly (within 6 feet) to kids should wear a mask. Of course, have fun and be safe!