(WFXR) — The new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Anthony Fauci say that this year’s trick-or-treating should be safe for young children in small groups.
According to a recent survey from the National Confectioners Association, 80 percent of Americans plan on trick-or-treating in 2021 compared to 65 percent in 2020.
Health officials from Carilion Clinic and other organizations released guidelines to help make sure children have fun and also stay safe during this spook-tacular holiday
If you are planning on celebrating Halloween in small groups outdoors, health officials urge you to keep kids at a safe distance from others outside your household.
According to the Safe Kids organization, parents should make sure their children wear costumes and bags with reflective tape, stickers, or lights. They also suggest kids carry glow sticks or flashlights so drivers can see them.
If you are planning on celebrating going door to door, Safe Kids has a few tips for keeping children safe walking around the neighborhoods:
- Crossing the street at corners, use traffic signals or crosswalks.
- Look both ways before crossing.
- Don’t look at electronic devices while crossing the street.
- Have your children make sure they make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Children should walk on routes with fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Do not dart in between parked cars.
Those who are driving throughout residential areas should slow down and beware of children who are trick-or-treating, according to Safe Kids. The organization also makes the following suggestions:
- Look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Turn on your headlights to help you spot children from greater distances.
- Typical trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Besides door-to-door trick-or-treating, there are other fun activities such as corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards.
Indoor Halloween Activities
If outdoor activities aren’t your cup of tea, maybe you want to attend some fun indoor events, such as haunted houses.
Health officials say if you plan on attending, make sure everyone wears face masks, keeps a safe distance, and washes hands their before eating any treats.
Halloween at Home
For those who don’t feel comfortable heading outdoors for trick-or-treating, Carilion Clinic released some ideas to make Halloween fun at home.
According to health officials, you can decorate pumpkins, make Halloween-themed treats, and dress up in costume for family movie night.
Teal Pumpkin Project
Some favorite Halloween candies contain common allergens that can force some kids to be left out of the fun. Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, wheat, soy, and sesame.
As a way to make sure the holiday is fun for kids of all ages, the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) is urging people to offer non-food treats as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Examples of non-food treats are listed below:
- Glow sticks or glow bracelets
- Glow-in-the-dark slime
- Stickers, stamps and temporary tattoos
- Mini Play-doh containers
- Silly straws
- Wind-up toys
The Teal Pumpkin Project also has an interactive map, pinpointing whose homes are participating. If you want to participate you can add your location to the map to let people know you will have non-food treats available. If you would like to participate, you are asked to put a teal pumpkin on your doorstep to let kids know that your house is food allergy-friendly.
Sweet Treats and Healthy Teeth
After a fun night of trick-or-treating, kids may want to indulge themselves in the sweet treats they picked up. However, the Virginia Dental Association has some helpful tips to keep kids’ teeth healthy while still having fun:
- Brush your teeth or swish your mouth with water after a treat.
- Do not consume candy throughout the day, instead save it for a treat after a meal.
- Avoid chewy and sour candies.
- Look for dark chocolates that are low in sugar.