It’s a Whole New Way to Trick-or-Treat
Children should social distance, mask up, stay in their neighborhoods, and use hand sanitizer if they trick-or-treat. Individually wrapped candy should be placed outside on porches, tables, etc.
By Eugenia Jones
According to McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene, this year’s McCreary County trick-or-treaters will celebrate Halloween on Saturday, October 31 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
In order to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Greene said McCreary Countians should follow the guidelines for safe Halloween activities and trick-or-treating as released by the Governor and public health officials earlier this month.
The guidelines were announced by Kentucky Governor Beshear, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and Kentucky Public Health to keep Halloween fun and safe for children during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The following parameters are among the guidelines.
• Keep the focus on a fun and safe Halloween for children. Avoid adult activities that increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
• Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from anyone not within your household and place individually wrapped candy outside, spaced apart, on porch steps, a table, etc. with a sign asking children to take only one (or two or three…) Do not allow children to select their own treats from a common bowl or container.
• Face coverings (masks) covering the mouth and nose are required for trick-or-treaters and during Halloween activities. Halloween masks do not count.
• Sanitize hands frequently-especially after contacting frequently-touched surfaces and before eating anything. Clean hands before and after touching wrapped candy. Parents should wipe candy wrappers with sanitizing wraps. (NEVER wipe unwrapped food with wipes.) Allow children to eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats from individuals you do not know.
• Trick-or-treat in family groups and do not gather in large groups. Trick-or-treat in your own neighborhood. Do not travel to other neighborhoods.
Operators of Events/Attractions must follow all state executive orders and guidelines as well as local requirements and guidelines. Capacity should allow for 6 foot distancing for everyone at all times. Reinforce distancing rules with markers or dividers. Have hand sanitizer available. Consider eliminating seating areas. If seating is provided, make it outside with seating separated by six feet. Sanitize seats and tables between each use. Notify the local health department immediately if you learn that someone with COVID-19 has visited your attraction.
According to Kentucky health officials, the following high-risk activities are to be avoided:
• Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating with treats handed to children
• Hayrides or tractor rides
• Traveling to fall festivals
• Any event with large crowds-pursuant to Executive Order, moderate-risk gatherings (outdoors) must be limited to ten people or under.
Health officials offer the following creative ideas for safe Halloween activities:
• Carve or decorate pumpkins for display
• Decorate your home or living space • Have a virtual Halloween costume contest • Watch Halloween movies with the people you live with • Have a scavenger hunt for Halloween treats with your family in and around your home • Have a drive-by costume or car decorating contest with judges who are social distancing.
Remember to stay home if you or your child is sick. If your child is at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, use extra caution to avoid moderate and high-risk activities. Be sure to consider others in your household who may be at risk of greater complications from COVID-19. Focus on keeping Halloween fun and safe for children by avoiding adult activities that further increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The Kentucky guidelines for safely celebrating Halloween will be reassessed and updated as the situation evolves and more is learned in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
For updates, visit https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/covid19/cv19halloweenguidance.pdf and/or https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dph/covid19/cv19halloweenonepager.pdf. General information about COVID-19 and community alerts can be found at https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19.