Pediatrician on keeping your kids safe so they “won’t miss out” on Halloween

With Halloween just days away, pediatrician Dr. Dyan Hes has one crucial piece of advice for parents trying to keep their kids safe during the coronavirus pandemic: “Do it outside.”

“Just avoid indoor activities — no bobbing for apples, no biting the dangling donut,” Hes said Tuesday on CBSN. Instead, she suggested, “Anything you can do outdoors — a scavenger hunt, something where the kids feel like they’re engaged.” 

While most of the country has not imposed any added restrictions for the holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a list of recommendations for parents to keep their kids safe while trick-or-treating, while warning the activity is higher-risk amid the pandemic. 

The recommendations include:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters
  • Give out treats outdoors if possible
  • Set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take
  • Wash hands before handling treats
  • Wear a mask

“If possible, don’t let kids come into your bucket and rummage their hands through it,” Hes said. “If you can, depending on where you live, if you could put like a little folding table or, you know, something with a basket… so that all the kids aren’t touching the same things.”

She used her own medical office as an example: Rather than allowing her young patients to grab Halloween toys from a bucket, they now “hand them out one at a time.” 

“That being said, COVID is really not transmitted from fomites, which are objects, so I don’t think if somebody touches a bag of M&Ms and the next person touches it, they’re going to get COVID from it,” she said. 

Another safe outdoor activity Hes suggested was organizing a small Halloween parade, where kids march “through the neighborhood or in your playground” six feet apart and “show off their costumes and celebrate and do, maybe, fun games.” 

“Then the kids won’t miss out,” she said. “In New York City, we do a lot of those parades anyway, and the kids really enjoy them.”

Hes urged parents to keep the cold weather in mind as well, and “bundle up” if needed to keep kids warm. 

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