Halloween 2020: How to take your kids trick or treating safely in the time of Covid

SPOOKY season is upon us and the coronavirus has meant that this year's festivities will be a little different to the usual scare-fest.

Whether you're carving pumpkins or dressing your little one up as a ghoul this Halloween, experts have advised that trick or treating in the usual sense is off the cards.

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While gatherings of six or under are still permitted indoors for people who live in Tier 1 areas, others will be forced outdoors.

Those living in Tier 2 will be able to meet in groups of six outdoors while those in Tier 3 will have to keep it to a strictly family affair when it comes to Halloween fun.

Celebrating Halloween has certainly become more challenging but there are still ways to have fun and enjoy the season with friends and family – be that in person or virtually.

Dr Daniel Atkinson, clinical lead at Treated.com has revealed his top tips for staying safe on October 31.

Keep your mask on

At present face masks and coverings are mandatory in supermarkets and shops and on public transport in the UK.

Many Halloween costumes for kids might come with a mask – for example a Batman costume.

While children under the age of 11 are exempt from wearing masks, Dr Atkinson said that kids over that age should not use their costume masks as protection.

He said: "It's important to note that Halloween masks are not a substitute for cloth masks, and they do not provide protection from Covid-19."

Stay indoors

Dr Atkinson said bowels of sweets can harbour germs from others and advised on creating an alternative trick and treat journey at home.

"Perhaps doing something where you go from room to room, within your own household, is probably the safest alternative this year.

"Bowls of sweets can harbour germs from others, so it’s probably best to take a year off going around the neighborhood and trick or treating in person", he said.

He added that door-to-door trick or treating was not advisable and said that you can instead get creative online.

"Getting creative with pumpkins at home and making an occasion of it with family is one way to keep the kids (large or small) entertained.

"And the result doesn’t have to be something no-one sees, thanks to social media. If you usually have a pumpkin carving competition at home, getting together with friends and family to do it online offers a Covid-safe way of keeping the tradition going.

"Online video calls have been crucial for interaction with friends and relatives ever since lockdown measures were first introduced in March this year, and they will continue to be the go-to, preventative option for many people until we see measures relaxed significantly."

Keep it small

Dr Atkinson said it's important to remember that restrictions include children too.

He said that it's still important to adhere to social distancing rules when you are outside.

He said: "Being outside is not completely safe. Think about being in a busy street and being able to smell the cigarette smoke of the person that’s just walked past, or being able to recognise the flavour of an E-cigarette that someone is vaping.

"If you can smell what’s passing in and out of someone’s lungs, then you’re at risk of being exposed to any respiratory viruses they’re infected with, including the virus that causes Covid-19."

While it's been proven that the virus doesn't spread as easy in younger children, in order to take kids out, adults will still be present.

This means that all adults will also have to follow the rules – not just children.

Speaking to Insider, paediatrician Dr. Rashmi Jain said adult transmission could be the main risk this spooky season.

He said one idea would be to look on local Facebook or community groups and suggest putting individually wrapped sweets out for children – this way no one is coming to your door and children aren't forced to rummage through buckets of sweets.

Epidemiologist Syra Madad added: "Prioritise which activities would be the least risky: outdoors vs. indoors, a restaurant with multiple diners vs. solo dinner with a friend, hair cut by appointment vs. walk in with multiple patrons.

"Do keep in mind it can take just one unsafe encounter to contract Covid-19."

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