Making Halloween As Fun – and As Safe – As Possible This Year!

HalloweenSafetyTips Alzein Pediatrics

COVID-19 is putting a real scare into our annual celebration of “ghosts and goblins”. How can we make sure our kids are enjoying a real Halloween without putting them – or our loved ones – at risk for this illness?

Dr. Alzein is here to help! “First,” he says, “understand that the risk to your children is real. While most kids contract very mild symptoms, some children – previously very healthy – have experienced lasting damage to their heart, lungs and their overall health. Children without symptoms can carry this virus to family members, friends, teachers and other adults who may be at a very high risk. Please, take precautions this Halloween.”

There are still lots of traditional, fun and safe ways to celebrate Halloween.

  • Cut shapes from construction paper and then use paper plates, glue sticks and crayons to create pumpkin faces. Thread them on string to decorate mantels, stairways and doorways.
  • Let your younger kids draw faces onto pumpkins. Adults should cut the hole, then kids can have the goopy fun of pulling out the insides! Adults can then cut out what kids have drawn, so the creation is really theirs – with parents just providing the safety.
  • Rinse and roast those pumpkin seeds! Try different toppings, like cinnamon sugar, garlic and salt or vinegar and tarragon.
  • Purchase English muffins and separate. Slather in pizza sauce and put out toppings like colorful peppers, olives, onions, mushrooms, and cheeses to make pumpkin-faced pizzas for dinner.
  • Recycle paper grocery bags into scary (or friendly!) masks by cutting holes at eye level and then letting children decorate with pipe cleaners, pompoms and fabric scraps.
  • Make pumpkin bread, letting kids choose add-ins like nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruits.
  • Dress in costumes and Zoom with grandparents, encouraging kids to show off their decorations and creations. Ask grandparents to do the same, and to read a Halloween-themed book to the kids.
  • Watch age-appropriate “spooky” movies. The youngest kids will love “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” while older kids might enjoy “Beetlejuice” or “Hocus Pocus”. Pop some corn and turn off the lights!
  • Enjoy a one-way outdoor haunted forest or corn maze and avoid indoor haunted houses, parties or gathering. Even though farms and pumpkin patches are advertising “restricted attendance”, social media posts are showing huge unmasked crowds, so prepare your child for the real possibility that you may not even get out of the car if you don’t feel it’s a safe environment. Have an alternative activity ready, such as walking through a forest preserve to collect colorful leaves.
  • Invite your neighbors to participate in a costume parade, making sure everyone is masked and staying 6 feet apart as they show off their spookiness to the neighborhood.

If your neighborhood offers-trick or-treating, make sure your child:

  • Wears a protective face mask that covers nose and mouth at all times – costume masks are NOT effective.
  • Stays at least 6 feet away from those not in the home
  • Stays with family, parents or caregivers and does not go in a group
  • Avoids clusters of kids at doorways
  • Accepts treats only from houses that are leaving candy outside, at least 6 feet from treaters
  • Uses alcohol-based sanitizer frequently
  • Does not put their hands into bowls where others may have also reached
  • Does not eat any treat until you wipe them all down and your child has washed their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Ideally, let treats sit for several days before handling.

If you offer treats, please make sure you place them outside, perhaps on a table, where children can take one without getting closer than 6 feet. You can also tape individual candy packages to popsicle sticks and put them into your lawn for children to gather. Wear a mask whenever you need to leave your house to restock.

Halloween should be fun-scary, not scary-scary. Enjoying so many traditions that are inherently safe, following restrictions for trick-or-treating and avoiding activities and gatherings that could spread the virus will keep this holiday fun – and everyone healthy.

Are you concerned about too many Halloween treats on your child’s menu? Nutritionist and Dietitian Anna Velazquez can help! Schedule a telemedicine or in-person visit with Ms. Anna to discuss ways to improve your child’s health and boost their immune system through a delicious diet! Call 708-424-7600 or click hereto get started!

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