JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL — With Halloween just a few weeks away, many families, neighborhoods and communities are looking at options for celebrating the holiday amid a pandemic. The Jefferson County Department of Health weighed in Thursday on trick-or-treating this year, and the opinion may not be what kids want to hear.
Dr. Wesley Willeford, medical director of disease control for the the JCDH, said dressing up for Halloween is fine, but trick-or-treating, at least the way it is normally done, must change in 2020.
“In-person trick-or-treating where a child goes door-to- door, probably isn’t the best idea right now,” he said. “The thing that we worry about is if you have a lot of kids who go around and see lots of people, if one of those kids or one of the adults that are with them has COVID-19 you could potentially spread that to a lot of people. So, we’re really trying to think of ways to let it happen and let it happen safely, but trying to protect everyone at the same time.”
Some suggestions Willeford offered was to put out “goody bags” where the kids can get a bag of candy or treats and go, without any contact.
The Jefferson County recommendations follow closely what the Centers for Disease Control released in September regarding Halloween festivities.
The “high risk” Halloween activities, according to the CDC:
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
- Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
- Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
- Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
- Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
- Traveling to a fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19