Health experts offer trick-or-treating guidance: ‘We need to bring back fun to Halloween’


WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Now that children ages 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, federal and state health officials hope celebrating Halloween this year will be a little less frightening.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out specific guidelines for Halloween last year, the federal health agency chose to only list recommendations this year.

The CDC is offering advice on how to celebrate safety on its holiday celebrations page. Some of the recommendations listed include getting vaccinated, wearing well-fitting face masks and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.

Dr. James McDonald, medical director at the R.I. Department of Health, said he hopes Halloween will be a fun experience for everyone.

“If there’s one thing the pandemic took from us, it was some of our fun,” he said. “The pandemic is still going on, it’s still a big deal … but we’ve learned how to manage it and we need to bring back fun to Halloween.”

Last year, some households got creative by handing out candy to trick-or-treaters using chutes or slides.

McDonald said unlike last Halloween, where he left candy on the porch for kids to choose from, he’s opting to do it traditionally this year.

“Kids are going to come to my front door and my son or myself will actually just hand out the candy,” he said.

McDonald said he’s encouraging people who are hosting parties or events to do so outside.

“It’s just lower risk than being inside,” McDonald said. “I think that’s just one way to do it. If you can trick-or-treat outside, it’s a safer way to do it.”

As far as face coverings go, McDonald said those handing out candy shouldn’t need to wear one if they’re outdoors.

“But if you’re in an apartment building and you have people coming into your apartment building, it’s safer to wear a mask,” he explained.

McDonald also recommends having hand sanitizer readily available, sticking in small groups, and wearing face masks while attending indoor celebrations.

Some communities like Warwick don’t regulate Halloween or the trick-or-treating that comes along with it.

Mayor Frank Picozzi said how families celebrate the holiday is up to them.

“We just hope people do whatever makes them comfortable,” Picozzi said. “We told them that because of COVID, too. I expect a lot of kids to be out trick-or-treating, and as far as giving candy out, or how you give it out, that’s up to the individual. I plan to give it out.”

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