Nazeem Muhajarine
Cheryl Camillo

Make your gatherings small, hold your festivities outside if weather permits, designate one masked, vaccinated person to hand out candy and, for communities with high rates of COVID-19, consider alternatives to trick-or-treating such as Halloween movie night or a scavenger hunt.

These are just a few of the risk-reducing measures for Halloween that researchers at the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net) have compiled. Given that 20 percent of COVID cases in Canada are among those 19 years old and younger, the national group has issued a series of measures to mitigate the higher risks for infection that the new variants pose.

During a time of crowded porches, exchanges of sweets and more young people meeting up for Halloween parties, CoVaRR-Net is taking the opportunity to provide the public with some prudent tips (below).

Recommendations

Please ensure to also follow your local public health recommendations.

Trick-or-Treating

  • If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.
  • Trick-or-Treat with only your family members or a few close friends you already spend time with.
  • Be sure to:
    • Wear a mask; incorporate it into your costume if possible;
    • Ensure physical distancing (2 meters); and
    • Wash your hands before and after Trick-or-Treating.
  • When approaching a house, have patience and wait for the group ahead of you to leave before approaching. Do not crowd the doorstep and stand two meters away. Knock on the door (avoid using the doorbell) or play a pre-recorded ‘Trick-or-Treat’ audio on your phone.
  • After Trick-or-Treating, and prior to eating any treats, be sure to wash your hands.

Handing Out Candy

  • If feeling unwell, please do not hand out candy.
  • Only one person per household who is vaccinated should hand out treats for Trick-or-Treaters.
  • When handing out candy:
    • Wear a mask;
    • Wash your hands frequently;
    • Use tongs to hand out candy or hand out individual candy bags;
    • Only offer store-bought, individually wrapped candy.
  • If weather permits, sit outside and place individual candy or candy bags on a table for children to take.
  • Frequently sanitize high-touch areas including the doorbell, doorknob, and handrails for general hygiene and to protect against any viruses.

Halloween Parties

  • Overall, gatherings should be kept small, especially if children under the age of 12 are present. Get together in small groups with households you frequently socialize with and ensure everyone is fully vaccinated.
  • If weather permits, gather outside.
  • If you are indoors:
    • Open windows and ensure good ventilation;
    • Maintain physical distancing (2 meters);
    • Avoid sharing food and drinks;
    • Consult the local public health unit or area for any gathering limits;
    • Limit gatherings, whether they are in a home or in public places (e.g., bars and restaurants), to those who are fully vaccinated.
  • Consider taking part in other outdoor Halloween festivities (e.g., corn maze or pumpkin patch) instead of gathering inside.
  • In-school Halloween parties: Keep children within classroom cohorts. Offer store-bought pre-packaged treats instead of homemade Halloween baked goods.

Areas with High Community COVID-19 Prevalence and/or Low Vaccine Uptake

  • Prior to Halloween, be sure to read the advice and recommendations from local public health officials.
  • Be mindful of the prevalence of COVID-19 in your community. If deemed very high by public health authorities, avoid having indoor gatherings of any type.
  • Consider alternatives to Trick-or-Treating, such as reverse Trick-or-Treating,which includes having vaccinated friends and family drop off candy at your door or consider going to friends and families houses and asking them to leave candy bags outside for a non-contact activity.
  • Consider other alternatives to Trick-or-Treating, such as a Halloween piñata, a stay-at-home movie night, baking Halloween treats at home, or a Halloween scavenger hunt.
  • If unvaccinated, avoid having indoor gatherings of any type.

Read more about CoVaRR-Net’s recommendations for a safe Halloween.

To arrange an interview with Dr. Muhajarine or Dr. Camillo, please contact:
Philip Fine
514.279.8528
cpc@covarrnet.ca