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Tricks or treats


October 30, 2020

Minnesota Public Radio spoke with Dr. Beth Thielen, an adult and pediatric infectious diseases physician at the University of Minnesota medical school, and John Jost, who runs the city of Anoka’s annual Halloween celebration, about the ways the holiday is changing this year. 

They shared a few suggestions to help navigate this year’s celebration amid the pandemic.

Adjust expectations

Many traditional Halloween traditions, like trick-or-treating, involve face-to-face interactions with lots of different people. But this year, in order to prevent the spread and protect each other from COVID-19, some parts of Halloween may need a little updating. 

Preparing your children for what to expect when it comes to your family’s Halloween plans can help parents get ahead of possible holiday disappointment. It helps to make sure everyone is on the same page — and expecting fun, just a different kind of fun that they might otherwise be used to.

Consider alternatives with candy

While children might usually look forward to digging through a giant bucket in search of their favorite treats, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against using a common container for handing out candy this year. 

Instead, the CDC suggests engaging in the festivities at a distance by placing grab-and-go goodie bags at the end of your driveway or sidewalk for trick-or-treaters to collect as they pass by. 

Other low-risk options include carving pumpkins, decorating your house or hosting a Halloween movie night inside with members of your household. 

Move the celebration outdoors

Indoor gatherings increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19, in part because it’s difficult for people to practice social distancing in confined spaces. 

But even if you move your festivities outside, don’t forget to maintain the basics of COVID-19 prevention: Wear masks, social distance. And keep numbers small. 

Wear a mask

The No. 1 COVID-19 prevention tip remains: Wear a mask. While it may be tempting to pull out your favorite superhero mask as a Halloween substitute, Thielen said it’s important to wear the kind of mask that has become ubiquitous in the COVID era: One that covers the nose and mouth. 

Minnesota Public Radio News


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