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Keep it safe and memorable on Halloween with tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

The frights should be fun and intentional this Halloween. And yes, this is the second October in a pandemic, but there is still plenty of fun to be had. 

Keep it safe and still memorable with these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

·      Try a virtual costume party or a physically distant, outdoor costume parade, Halloween-themed crafts, a movie night at home, or making favorite treats.

·      It is still a good idea to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are subject to change and vary based on vaccination status and local transmission rates. The safest bet is to avoid large gatherings, maintain a distance of six feet from others, wear cloth face coverings (think Superhero!) and wash hands frequently. Meeting outdoors is safer than indoors, but it is still important to follow safety precautions.

·      Trick-or-treating may be discouraged if transmission rates are high. If trick-or-treating occurs in a community, families should be careful to avoid groups or clustering at doorsteps or at any other place. Residents who wish to hand out treats may consider sitting outdoors and they should wear cloth face coverings. They may also consider handing out individually prepacked treat bags. 

·      Good hand hygiene like washing hands or using hand sanitizer before and after trick-or-treating is always a good idea. 

·      Meet with friends virtually and show off costumes. Have fun with it! And since a virtual costume party isn’t subject to rain or cold temperatures, costumes won’t get covered by a coat.

·      When planning a costume, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats. If children plan to use their cloth face coverings as part of their costume, they should not paint them, as some paints contain toxins. 

·      Celebrate with a movie night and dress as your favorite characters. Do this as a family at home or consider letting your child watch with their friends while video chatting, with everyone starting the movie at the same time. 

·      Look for community events focused on safe ways to have fun, such as programs offered at a park or other outdoor venue. Avoid indoor events such as haunted houses. Avoid crowds and clustering and follow safe distance rules even when outdoors.

·      Decorate pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.

·      If children are outdoors, consider marking their costumes with reflective tape. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame. Remind children to be careful around cars, as drivers may not see them. Remind them also to wash hands really well when you return home.

·      Consider offering non-edible goodies to friends and family. Halloween is one of the trickiest days of the year for children with food allergies. Food Allergy Research & Education's Teal Pumpkin Project, promotes safe trick-or-treating options for food-allergic children and suggests handing out non-food items. Make sure the items do not pose choking hazards for young children.

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