Should families trick-or-treat this Halloween? Local health experts answer safety questions

CDC issues COVID-19 guidelines for Halloween, classifies trick-or-treating as 'high risk'
Posted at 10:22 PM, Oct 28, 2020

CINCINNATI — With the potential of Hamilton County to move into "purple" status on the Ohio's Public Advisory Alert System, many people are wondering about their holiday plans this Halloween weekend.

When asked flat-out if it’s safe for kids to go trick-or-treating this Halloween during the coronavirus pandemic, Mercy Health chief clinical officer Dr. Steve Feagins had a simple answer.

“It is, with masks – appropriate masks and social distancing,” he said. “And washing your hands. It’s probably okay.”

Feagins said much like the year 2020, you have to think things will be different.

“These holidays, it’s best to stay with your regular family,” he said. “Wear a mask. Even when you’re outside."

He said that costume masks are not as safe as surgical masks.

“Cloth face covering still goes under your Halloween mask,” Feagins said.

He also warned trick-or-treaters to avoid high-touch surface areas like doorbells and doorknobs and for those passing out candy, he suggests doing it outside.

“A lot of people like to hang out on the front porch anyway,” Feagins said. “Leave the candy six feet away from them so they can at least say hello. Wearing your mask. Still get the candy. Actually, handing the candy - that’s something let’s not do this year.”

Other events heading into Halloween weekend should be thought of differently as well.

“We’re letting these friends and families into our homes that aren’t part of the circles,” Hamilton County Public Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said. “We can maybe open up a bit more if we’re doing one to two families pumpkin carving with a mask on.”

Lastly, after the kids get their haul of sugary goods, Dr. Feagins said to leave the candy alone for a day or two.

“Make sure you wash your hands as soon as you get home,” he said. “Wash your hands after you give out the candy.”