By Laura Keil

It looks like Halloween 2020 will be all about the kids this year. Parties are a no-go, but B.C.’s top medical health official Dr. Bonnie Henry advised that trick-or-treating is okay this year with a few provisos. Trick-or-treaters should incorporate a non-medical mask into their costume and stick to smaller groups (The BC Centre for Disease Control advises 6 people or less). People handing out candy should stay outside if possible and use tongs or a “candy slide” (let your imagination go wild!) to hand out individually-wrapped items (and avoid having kids reach into a common bowl).

Candy givers should sanitize doors, doorbells and railings frequently over the course of the night. Or simply encourage trick-or-treaters to do what they do best: yell trick-or-treat outside the house.

Here is this year’s guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control:
1. No matter how you celebrate Halloween this year…
Turn off your porch light and stay at home if you are sick or self-isolating.
Try including a non-medical mask or face covering as part of your costume. – Costume masks should not be worn over non-medical masks or face coverings as that may make it difficult to breathe.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often.

2. Skip Halloween parties this year
Leave the parties behind.
Indoor gatherings, big or small, put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19.
Celebrate with your favourite Halloween movie or other traditions that you can do with your household or social group.
If you host or attend a small party, keep it within your social group (Stick to six).
You should know everyone who attends, no plus ones.
Follow our guidelines for safer celebrations.
Don’t pass around snacks, drinks, smokes, tokes, and vapes
Be more outside, than inside. Keep your space well-ventilated with windows open.
Avoid using props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines.
Be careful with hand sanitizer and open flames – hand sanitizer is very flammable!

3. Trick-or-treating can be done safely by following these tips
Respect homes by staying away if the lights are out.
Keep to your local neighbourhood this year.
Avoid trick-or-treating in busy areas or indoors (in places like malls) since there may not be enough space to distance. Indoor spaces may require a non-medical mask or face covering.
Trick-or-treat in a small social group, stick to six people.
Leave space between you and other groups to reduce crowding on stairs and sidewalks.
Wash your hands before you go out, when you get home, and before eating treats.
Keep hand sanitizer with you if eating treats on the go.
You don’t need to clean every treat. You should instead wash your hands after handling treats and not touch your face.

Get creative handing out treats
Get creative!
Use tongs, a baking sheet or make a candy slide to give more space when handing out candy.
Plan to hand out individual treats instead of offering a shared bowl.
Only hand out sealed, pre-packaged treats.
Wear a non-medical mask that covers your nose and mouth when handing out treats.
Be more outside, than inside.
If you can, stand outside your door to hand out treats. Then kids won’t need to touch the door or doorbell.
If you’re unable to sit outside to hand out treats, clean and disinfect doorbells and knobs, handrails, and any other high touch surface often during the evening
If you are decorating, avoid props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines.
Help make trick-or-treating more accessible to everyone by handing out treats from the bottom of your stairs or at your curb-side.

The Down Low
Skip Halloween parties this year
Trick or treating in small groups can be a safe and a fun activity
Get creative in making space when handing out treats