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How To Safely Navigate Halloween Traditionally And Pandemic Style

Halloween is once again upon us this Sunday, and as usual, there are many tips and tricks out there to help keep kids (and parents) safe while trick or treating. While COVID-19 has resulted in new ways to interact with kids when they come to the door, it hasn’t changed some of the traditional safety measures that families and candy givers have been using for decades to keep Halloween fun and memorable.

The first tip; Ensure that your children are dressed appropriately for the weather (this is Alberta, you never know what season could arrive while you are out trick or treating), look for costumes that can have layers underneath, or that come with padding.

Health Canada has some tips that have proven effective through the years:

Costumes with flowing skirts, capes or baggy sleeves, costumes that are over-sized, and costume accessories such as beards, wigs, wings and tails, can all be hazardous around candles or other ignition sources.

Choose costumes and accessories that are less likely to catch on fire, such as those made of nylon or heavyweight polyester.

Some costumes may be labelled flame-resistant, but remember, flame-resistant does not mean fire-proof.

Pick brightly coloured costumes that can be clearly seen by motorists. Add reflective tape to the costume to increase visibility.

Use make-up or face paint instead of masks - improperly fitted masks can interfere with your child's vision or breathing.

Before using face paint or make-up, do a patch test to see if your child is sensitive or allergic to something in the cosmetic. Even products labelled as “hypoallergenic” can still cause allergic reactions.

If you do choose a mask, make sure it fits properly and allows them to see and breathe easily.

Do not use contact lenses that change eye colour or create special effects because they can cause injury to a child's eyes.

Avoid costumes that are too big or have long dangling pieces that children can trip over. Ensure that toy weapons and similar accessories are made of soft or flexible material. Hard or rigid costume accessories can cause accidents.

It is important to make your home safe for little ghouls and goblins.

Remove objects around the outside of your house that could cause children to trip or fall. Turn on your outdoor lights to increase visibility and let trick-or-treaters know they can visit.

Keep your children safe by teaching them to stay visible and to be aware of their surroundings. Go trick or treating with your children each year until they are old enough to go with a friend.

Give each child a flashlight to carry, to make them more visible to motorists and others. Tell your children to stay in well-lit areas and only visit homes that have their outside lights turned on. Make sure they know never to go inside homes or cars.

Teach your children to be careful when crossing the street. Make sure they look both ways and only cross when no cars are coming. Cross streets at the corner, and never cross between parked cars.

Always examine the treats and toys that are brought home before giving them to your children.

Tell your children not to eat any treats until you have looked them over.

Be careful when giving children any treats that could be potential choking hazards such as chewy candies, peanuts and hard candies.

Check toys or novelty items for small parts and do not let children under three years of age play with them.

With COVID-19 around, new innovative ways to hand out treats have had to be devised. The Alberta Government has provided some safe ideas to help people enjoy the day.

Don't go trick-or-treating if feeling ill, even if symptoms are minor.

Choose costumes that allow a non-medical mask to be worn underneath. Make sure you can see and breathe comfortably.

Trick-or-treat with your household. If you run into friends or family, stay 2 metres apart.

Avoid touching doorbells or railings. Call "trick or treat" from 2 metres away.

Wash or sanitize hands frequently, and before eating or handling candy.

Don't hand out candy if you are feeling ill or isolating.

Wear a non-medical mask that fully covers your nose and mouth.

Ask trick-or-treaters to knock or call out instead of ringing the doorbell. Don't invite trick-or-treaters indoors.

Use tongs to hand out pre-packaged candy or consider an alternative way.

Find creative ways to maintain distance from trick-or-treaters:

Hand out treats from your driveway or front lawn, if weather permits.

Set up a table or desk to help keep yourself distanced.

Space treats out on a table or blanket. Don't leave out self-serve bowls of bulk candy.

Build a candy slide, candy catapult or other fun, non-touch delivery methods.

If you plan to hold a gathering for Halloween, review current gathering restrictions before participating in Halloween-themed gatherings or parties.

Stay home if feeling ill, even if symptoms are mild. Limit close contact with people outside your household. The smaller the group the better.

Host your party outdoors, if weather permits. Maximum of 20 people (vaccinated or unvaccinated) with 2 metres between households.

Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 fully vaccinated people from 2 households you interact with regularly (yours and one other). Children too young to be vaccinated don’t count towards total.

Tips for all gatherings:

Hold your party in a space where people can spread out and keep their distance from one another.

Choose games and activities that don't use shared items and allow people to stay 2 metres apart.

Provide hand sanitizer or a place for your guests to wash their hands w

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