Health Warnings, Tips for Halloween, Día de Muertos Activities

CDC labels door-to-door trick-or-treating, hayrides, and indoor costume parties "high risk."
Posted at 4:15 PM, Oct 28, 2020

“Unfortunately, we are still in the thick of this pandemic,” Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, an infectious disease physician at the Washington University School of Medicine told Newsy. 

This Halloween, the CDC put an ax on door-to-door trick-or-treating, hayrides, and indoor costume parties, labeling the activities high-risk. 

“Anytime you have mixing of people from different households, even if it is relatively brief, that is a situation where infection can be transmitted,” explained Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at the Mayo Clinic.

Some parents have come up with tricky alternatives.

Candy manufacturer Reese's has turned to robotics for safe distribution. 

But if you don’t have the engineering skills to create a mechanical arm, the question of what to do can leave families feeling frustrated. 

“Thinking of it only as what you're missing out on, what we're not doing, what we can't do, really sets both parents and kids for disappointment,” said Dr. Parker Houston, a pediatric psychologist at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. 

Instead, experts say think of the aspects you love most about that holiday and then find ways to make that safe. 

“My four-year-old and I will be setting up a table for friends in the neighborhood, we'll be putting candy, we'll be putting up colorful signs,” said Davis of Washington University. 

“Having a scavenger hunt or hiding candy around your house or in your own backyard would be considered a safe activity,“ suggested Rajapakse of the Mayor Clinic. 

Following Halloween night, is Dia De Muertos, a Mexican holiday in celebration of All Saints and All Souls Day. 

But COVID-19 has hit the Hispanic community particularly hard; some are essential workers, others have limited health care, or just mistrust of the medical community, all leading to a greater health disparity. 

Health experts say when it comes to El Dia De Muertos, sharing ofrendas virtually or visiting gravesites with members of your household is low to moderate risk, indoor gatherings are high risk. 

“While we want to honor these beautiful cultures, these beautiful, beautiful moments, in cultures that we value and should be valuing in this country equitably, right, that we do not want to see that result in any more suffering, and certainly not in any more deaths,” said Davis. 

While things may be different, experts say there are still ways to make the holidays memorable. 

“Consider this year as maybe a year to start some new traditions and enjoy some new activities that maybe you haven't done as a family before,” added Rajapakse. 

Amber Strong, Newsy.