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Tips to make halloween a treat

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Are your children looking forward to Halloween? It's been a long year, so dressing up, trick or treating, and enjoying some candy can be a great stress relief for the whole family. But with the current pandemic going on, many parents are feeling unsure about how to celebrate safely this October 31.

SIU Medicine understands how important it is to spend time with loved ones and carry on family traditions. That's why we're sharing some spooky strategies so you can take part in Halloween this year while still protecting yourself, your kids and your neighbors.

3 ways to enjoy halloween safely during COVID-19

1. Get creative with outfits

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 2 wears a mask or face covering while in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. So talk to your child about how they can incorporate their masks into their outfits. You could even help them decorate disposable surgical masks for use on Halloween night only. (Just don't poke holes in the mask, and remember that masks don't prevent the need for social distancing.) The CDC discourages children from “doubling up” by wearing a store-bought mask over a cloth face mask, because it could make breathing difficult.

Your child may want to wear gloves as a part of an outfit, too. But just know that wearing gloves shouldn't replace good hand hygiene—so try carrying along a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use intermittently throughout the night, and have everyone wash their hands (20 seconds!) at home before digging into any candy. And that goes for the moms and dads preparing candy bags for visitors and/or handling their children’s acquired treats.

2. Make it a community effort

Talk to your neighbors about ways you can encourage proper social distancing on Halloween night. Having a neighborhood discussion ensures everyone feels safer and well respected.

Here are some ground rules you may discuss with your neighbors, or at least follow on your own as a family:

  • No trick or treating in large groups
  • No congregating on front porches, etc.
  • One family or group at a time at the door
  • Use "Pick Your Own" candy from large bowls or trays left on porches or in the yard (instead of ringing the doorbell)
  • People should not participate in any in-person Halloween activities if they have symptoms of COVID or have had an exposure to a positive person. Viral transmission is a trick no one wants.

3. Go trick or treating at home

Indoor haunted houses should be avoided this year because of crowds and screaming that could increase the risk of exposure. And if you are not comfortable taking your children out to trick or treat, let them do it at home. Hide candy around the house and yard and let them hunt for it and have fun filling their bags.

You can also celebrate Halloween in other ways to help make sure the kids still have a great time, such as by watching spooky movies, putting up decorations, making Jack-o-Lanterns, doing Halloween-inspired crafts, reading Halloween books and cooking holiday-inspired meals.

Being healthy for halloween starts with healthy habits

Last but not least, don't forget that protecting your health and your loved ones' health is always a top priority. And there's never been a better time to encourage the entire family to practice healthy habits that will strengthen your immune systems and reduce your risk of getting sick.

Healthy habits to focus on right now include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating nutritious foods (and enjoying candy in moderation!)
  • Getting physically active every day
  • Reducing stress
  • Staying up-to-date on your physicals

SIU Medicine wishes you a happy and healthy halloween!

However you are planning to celebrate Halloween this year, our team at SIU Medicine wants it to be a fun one for your entire family! Contact us at 217-545-8000 if you'd like to schedule a physical for yourself or your children, or have any other concerns about your family's health this fall.

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