How seniors can hand out candy safely during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed every facet of the we live, the way we work, the way our children attend school, and even the way we celebrate our holidays. And Halloween is not immune.

“The pandemic continues to be a serious and scary threat, and must be taken very seriously, even when celebrating fun outings.” said PHC Pride Vice President Andy Cruz. Halloween 2020 will undoubtedly look different for many familes in San Antonio, especially our senior citizens, who are accustomed to to handing out Halloween candy. But there are ways to get in on the fun safely and minimize your risk of catching the virus.

 Here are some tips to help keep you safer and those trick-or-treaters as well.

#1 Don’t use a candy bowl

Kids are used to shoving their hands and sticking them in a bowl full of tasty treats, or rifling through the bowl to get the one they want. “This is the perfect way to spread germs to other children, or even to the person giving out the candy,” said Cruz. Intermountainhealthcare.org says to instead remove the candy from the bowl and drop it into each trick-or-treater’s bag – maybe even use tongs or your reacher/grabber, instead of your hands. Not only that, but make sure to wear a mask when you open the door, and try to wash your hands or sanitize them between each visit. 

#2 Stay behind a storm door

The best way to stay safe while handing out Halloween candy is to stay inside, but that is not always possible. “Candy givers love to see the kids dressed up, and often up close, but from behind a storm door that can be much safer than standing outside,” said Cruz.

According to thedailymeal.com by standing behind a storm door you can wave to the kids and even see their costumes without exposing yourself to the potential of a transmission of COVID-19. This is especially the case for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly who are at a much greater risk of contracting the virus than children who have a much greater chance of spreading the virus. 

#3 Hang up the treats

Kids love to touch candy, toys, doors, doorbells, handrails, any surface they could possibly come into contact with. If they touch those surfaces and then you subsequently touch them, the chance of you contracting any illness goes up significantly. 

By preparing holiday treats ahead of time in small bags and hanging them from a handrail, a nearby bush, or even a coat hanger, you can reduce the risk of transmission from one child to another, or from a child to yourself. 

“By removing that threat of passing the virus from a child, to an object, then to you, that is just one way you can keep yourself healthier while still enjoying in the Halloween fun,” said Cruz. That is especially the case when it comes to children who just can’t help but put their fingers in their mouth or nose before and after grabbing the candy and possibly spreading this deadly virus. 

#4 Keep your distance

We’ve all heard the term ‘social distancing’ ever since the COVID-19 pandemic first started spreading in the United States in the spring of 2020.  Social distancing needs to be adhered to even more so during the holidays -including Halloween- when people are accusomted to gathering in large groups.

Hersheyhappiness.com advises anyone handing out candy to avoid doing so if you are sick. But if you are healthy, make sure to wear a face mask covering your mouth and nose, and even glasses to protect your eyes because this is a potential access point for COVID-19 to get into your body. 

“You might want to consider placing a table between yourself and the trick-or-treaters to ensure social distancing takes place, and disinfect the table frequently especially if you think your hands will end up on the table along with the hands of the kiddos,” Cruz stressed.

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