'I think it's over the top': Parents react to Halloween safety advice
When you’re going door-to-door trick-or-treating on Sunday evening, it may not be the typical experience we’ve grown accustomed to.
“We are very concerned about Halloween-related exposures and we hope the community will heed the public health measures and the guidance so we can minimize the risk of transmission,” says Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, the acting medical officer of health at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU).
- Keep your distance
- Limit the number of houses you visit
- Practice regular hand-washing/sanitizing
- Wear a mask
“I recognize incorporating a mask in a Halloween outfit for a four-year-old can be a challenge, for sure. On the other hand, no one wants their four-year-old to get sick,” Dr. Nesathurai says.
Some parents say they’ll listen, while others aren’t planning on it.
“Small groups, not as many houses too,” says Bryan Korpan, who will be taking his daughter Maxwell out this Halloween.
“And stay away from the big groups, you know, social distance, it’s our new normal right now,” agrees Virginia McLachlan.
“I think it’s over the top,” says Katie Desjardins. “I think the data is very little for outdoor mask wearing, to begin with. So I’m definitely not putting masks on them outside.”
“It doesn’t get much safer than kids being outside. I think it’s important. Kids have lost a lot of the past 18 months and I think this is a way they can have some semblance of normal,” Desjardins says.
The guidelines go beyond trick-or-treaters, also applying to adults dishing out treats.
The health unit recommends not spooking people — to avoid screaming, placing distance markings on their walkways, avoid giving out handmade treats and handing out that candy from a distance.
That’s something Anh Nguyen is ready to do again this year.
“We put a pipe from the front porch, down to where the kids would be and just put candy through when they come,” says Nguyen, who bought double the candy this year to accommodate what he believes will be an influx of kids.
Other adults kept their distance by using tongs, extended pinchers or simply leaving a bowl out for kids to help themselves.
Nicole Dupuis, the CEO of WECHU, says if you plan to host a Halloween party, check to see if your guests are vaccinated and keeping a list of attendees.
“Be mindful of the risks, and making sure they keep a good list of the individuals who are there, that is important for us when if there is an exposure for us to reach out and do our jobs related to contact tracing."