Although COVID-19 has disrupted many of our traditional celebrations over the past few months, our communities have embraced the ‘new normal’ by finding alternative ways to stay connected and participate in meaningful activities with their loved ones. As Halloween approaches, the health care providers at the Marathon Family Health Team (MFHT) and North of Superior Healthcare Group (NOSH) would like to encourage you to continue being responsible citizens by celebrating Halloween differently this year. Your support will help our community members stay safe and healthy.
Many traditional Halloween activities, such as trick-or-treating, can be high-risk for spreading viruses. For this reason, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges communities to participate in safer alternatives. MFHT and NOSH support the considerations that were released by the CDC regarding Halloween celebrations.
To limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, we ask that all community members refrain from participating in the following high-risk activities:
- Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
- Crowded costume parties held indoors
- Indoor haunted houses
- Hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not members of their household
- Travelling to fall/Halloween festivals held outside of our communities
Instead, we encourage you to participate in lower risk activities such as these:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with friends or neighbours
- Decorating your living space with members of your household
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors
- Having a candy hunt (think easter egg hunt) with members of your household in or around your home
- Having a virtual costume party
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
Other activities that could be considered, if done safely, are the following:
- Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade or costume party where people can keep their physical distance of 2-meters
- Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with family and friends where people can keep their physical distance of 2-meters
If you choose to participate in lower risk Halloween celebrations, be mindful of the provincial gathering limits for unmonitored and private events (10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors) and ensure to follow these public health tips:
- Maintain your physical distance of 2-meters from people you don’t live with.
- Stay outside if you can.
- Wear a mask when around people who don’t live in your household (especially when physical distancing can’t be maintained). Halloween masks should not substitute cloth masks.
- Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
If you participate in higher risk activities, please take extra precautions and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the event to protect others. This means staying home as much as possible and avoiding being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. older adults, people with a chronic medical condition and people who are immunocompromised).
We understand that adjusting your Halloween activities may be disappointing; however, the health and safety of our communities is our top priority, especially now that we’re seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases across the province. We want to thank you for taking on the responsibility of celebrating sensibly and doing your best to keep everyone safe as we move through the pandemic.