Springfield-Greene County Health Department releases Halloween guidelines

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:20 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Springfield-Greene County Health Department released guidelines for Halloween so you can have fun celebrating the holiday, in the safest way possible.

The CDC recommends you avoid traditional trick-or-treating, traditional trunk-or-treating, parties and indoor haunted houses because those activities have been labeled as higher risk for exposure to the coronavirus.

One family says taking precautions is worth it because nothing could stop their holiday celebration.

“Halloween’s a huge deal," Alysa Baker, parent, says. "It’s my favorite holiday so COVID’s not gonna stop us.”

When it comes to trick-or-treating, the health department recommends watching your distance this year by making sure there’s enough room between you and other groups when going door to door.

Baker says she plans to see how each house is handling Halloween and passing out candy.

“I think I’m just gonna sit back and observe first what are the parents doing," Baker says. “What are people at the houses doing? Are they answering the door or are there bags out or are there bowls out?”

The health department recommends only trick-or-treating with those who live in the household compared to large groups of friends. Contactless trick-or-treating is recommended to limit close contact. Rather than ringing a doorbell or having someone hand out candy, leave a bowl out or goody bags filled with candy that kids can just grab.

“You can stay outside," Cara Erwin, Springfield-Greene County Health Department, says. "Set-up a chair six-feet away and say hello. Compliment them on their costumes and wear your mask and then you can celebrate that way. We just would prefer that you not actually be handing the kids the candy and coming within close distance of them.”

The health department is also recommending for people to wear masks, even though trick-or-treating is an outdoor event. A mask that comes with a Halloween costume doesn’t count so if the costume comes with a mask, it’s still recommended to wear a cloth face covering underneath it-- as long as you can breathe.

Erwin says parents have called with concerns because the virus can live on candy wrappers for up to three days.

“If you’re concerned about the virus living on that surface and your kids touching the candy or eating the candy right after they receive it, one creative solution would be to maybe buy your own bag of candy to give to your kids for those first three days so that the candy that they collected through trick or treating has allowed that virus to go away," Erwin says.

Some families are already looking forward to the next, more normal Halloween.

“The time of letting kids just run crazy on the street during Halloween will come again," Jason Bilyeu, parent, says. "It’s just not now.”

One of the biggest Halloween gatherings in Springfield, the Halloween parade through the Rountree neighborhood, won’t take place this year.

The entire list of guidelines from the health department can be found here.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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