2020 has been a different kind of year to say the least.  As we roll seven months into various forms of shut-downs and 'stay-at-home' orders, we're about to approach the annual rite of passage for kids on Halloween: trick-or-treating.  And while there's been a lot of debate about whether or not kids should be permitted to trick-or-treat - and - if they do, what will that look like.

In advance of the Halloween holiday, officials with the Douglas County Public Health department have released a list of tips for parents and kids on how to trick-or-treat safely in a pandemic.  While large Halloween gatherings are still being discouraged by the health organization, they have shared on social media that they are "supportive of trick-or-treating with good community education around safe practices".

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So what are those "safe practices" for Halloween trick-or-treating that the county is recommending?  Here's a list for starters:

  • If you're sick, stay home; don't trick-or-treat.  At the same time, if you're sick, don't hand out candy from your door.
  • To keep gatherings small and socially-distanced, consider trick-or-treating with family - the people you live with.
  • Practice good social distancing when out and about trick-or-treating. While you can gather in small groups as a family, make sure you're keeping 6-feet (or more) of distance from people who are not in your group.
  • Wear a face mask.  This recommendation is for everyone - kids (age 2 and older) and adults alike.  Make sure that that face mask covers both your mouth and your nose and that you're wearing it properly.  You can make a cloth mask to tie-in with your costume or outfit, but resist wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask; this can make breathing difficult.  The idea behind the masks is to keep you and other safe.
  • Consider setting up socially-distanced, outside trick-or-treat tables.  i.e. - find ways to alleviate strangers from having to come up to or inside of your home.  Another idea to consider:  making individual treat bags and leaving them outside on your door step.  Avoid having kids reach into a bowl to get their own treats.
  • Keep hand sanitizer nearby - for yourself and others.  Use it often.  Wash your hands before and after preparing and/or handing out treats.
  • "Avoid face-to-face interaction with high risk groups".

The full list of COVID trick-or-treat safety tips can be found by clicking here.  The social media post on Douglas County's site also includes standard trick-or-treating tips - the kind that are good practices all pandemics aside.