The doctor is in | Halloween 2020

How the heck do we handle Halloween this year?

Trick-or-treating is probably on most parents’ minds this season. If you are not sure about trick-or-treating or your community has opted out, this may be the year to initiate some new traditions. Do something you’ve never done before – build a scarecrow, make up scary stories around your own backyard fire pit (with adult supervision, of course) – and make caramel apples.

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If you decide to participate in trick-or-treating, there are ways to reduce your risks. First, look for homes that are taking precautions seriously by avoiding close contact. Ideally, they will have candy outside, spread out on a table or in individual treat bags, so kids won’t be touching a big bowl of treats. To follow social distancing, this should also be the year to stick with your immediate family. Once home, consider “quarantining” candy and treats for a few days before letting the kids enjoy. Have a stash at home to enjoy that night.

While it’s important to protect your family from the virus, don’t be so focused on it that you let down your guard over the usual Halloween safety risks. Trick-or-treat night is the No. 1 night for pedestrian injury. People are driving from one place to another and may not see kids who may be excited and not paying attention. And, it could be even more dangerous this year if normal patterns are changed and trick-or-treating is taking place on different nights.

Also, remember to be vigilant with fire and matches. Lighted candles and jack-o-lanterns should never be left unattended. Make sure kids can see well out of their masks and won’t trip on their costumes. Always dress children appropriately for the weather, and walk with flashlights or reflective detail on costumes.

It’s easy to think of this Halloween as another tradition sadly upended by COVID-19, but try to focus on the positives and all things you can still do, like decorating your house, making Halloween crafts, a family trip to the pumpkin patch and carving jack-o-lanterns.

Heather Trnka

Injury Prevention Coalition Supervisor, Akron Children’s Hospital

Safe Kids Summit County Coalition Coordinator

State Director, Safe Kids Ohio

Photo: Heather Trnka, by Akron Children’s Hospital