Don't make Halloween spooky for all the wrong reasons
By Katie Minor
This year, as more and more people get vaccinated, we may be able to celebrate Halloween more safely.
If you want to keep this spooky holiday as safe as possible, the best thing you can do is get a vaccine. If you are eligible, make sure to get the COVID-19 booster shot for an extra dose of protection.
With flu season coming up, it wouldn’t hurt to get your flu vaccine before Halloween as well.
Keep in mind that it takes two weeks for each of these vaccines to become effective.
Feeling sick before trick or treating? Don’t risk it! There is nothing spookier than accidentally spreading a virus. Keep your favorite candy in your home and put on a scary movie to celebrate Halloween instead. Get tested before trick or treating if you want to be absolutely sure.
One of the best preventative measures you can take is wearing a mask (no, not the Michael Myers kind). You can wear a face mask under a costume mask as long as you can breathe comfortably.
Try getting creative with your mask! Decorate a cloth mask to make a part of your costume. Add a menacing smile and fangs to a mask for a great vampire costume.
Other than that, what can you do to stay safe when you’re trick-or-treating? Monongalia County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these tips:
- Stay outside and keep it moving.
- Stay in your own neighborhood.
- Keep groups small.
- Give others space when passing.
- Wash or sanitize your hands before eating candy.
If you plan to hand out candy this year, be innovative and avoid using a communal bowl, which could increase the risk of spreading sickness. Try spacing out candy on a table or making individual bags as a fun Halloween activity! Keep hand sanitizer close for yourself and trick-or-treaters.
If you’re feeling sick or you just don’t want to participate, that’s totally fine! Keep your porch lights off to signal that to trick-or-treaters.
These safety protocols are likely to keep you safer, but it is still important to remember that the CDC considers trick-or-treating to be a high-risk activity. That doesn’t mean Halloween needs to be canceled — there are plenty of low- or moderate-risk activities you and your family can try instead.
- Carve or decorate pumpkins with a small group.
- Decorate your living space.
- A Halloween scavenger hunt.
- A virtual Halloween costume contest.
- A Halloween movie night with a small group. I recommend “Hocus Pocus”!
- Go to a pumpkin patch and take pictures.
- Go to an outdoor haunted forest/house/maze with safety measures in place, such as masks or social distancing. Check out the Fright Farm, which is about 30 minutes from Morgantown.
There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe this Halloween, no matter what you choose to do. That being said, it is much higher risk to attend crowded parties, not wear a mask and/or be around unvaccinated people.
Remember to follow regular Halloween safety tips as well: it will be getting dark, so use a flashlight and always have someone with you. Using drugs or alcohol is also discouraged, as it could impair your judgment.
Thank you for taking steps to be safe this Halloween! Hospitals and medical staff are appreciative of those who get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Be safe, be healthy and have a happy Halloween.