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Health & Wellness Column: Celebrate Halloween Safely

September 28, 2020
Health & Wellness Column

Virginia Aparicio
Extension Educator – Health & Human Sciences
Purdue Extension Elkhart County
574-533-0554, vaparici@purdue.edu

Celebrate Halloween Safely

As people start to plan for fall holiday celebrations, many people wonder what activities are safe during this pandemic. Traditional activities like door-to-door trick-or-treating carry a high-risk for spreading viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued some recommendations for staying safe this holiday season along with safe alternative activities for the fall. However, anyone who has COVID-19 or was recently exposed to someone who is COVID positive are encouraged not to participate in in-person activities.

Low Risk

Generally, activities done in your home with members of your household have the lowest risk. Activities done with members outside of your household where everyone is wearing a mask and spaced at least 6 feet apart are low-risk. Carving and decorating pumpkins or decorating your home with household family members or a few friends outside at a safe distance are low-risk activities. Put together a scavenger hunt outdoors where children can look for fall-themed items such as mini pumpkins, gourds, and candy. Consider hosting a virtual Halloween party for kids in the neighborhood where they can show off their costumes and tell spooky stories.

Medium Risk

Visiting a local apple orchard or pumpkin patch is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. When in public always wear your mask and maintain sufficient spacing to protect yourself and others. Frequently clean or sanitize your hands and rinse off any apples or other food before eating. Small outside gathering such as a campfire, cookout, or an outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or family members pose a medium risk, but are generally safe as long as everyone follows the recommended COVID safety guidelines.

High Risk

Anytime there are gatherings where people may not be wearing masks, nor following social distancing guidelines, your risk goes up. The CDC advises against attending high risk events where people tend to crowd such as indoor parties, hayrides, and festivals. Haunted houses are also risky due to the exposure of more respiratory droplets from screaming. A haunted forest that provides more airflow would be a safer alternative to reduce the risk of exposure. Don’t limit your kids to Halloween candy. Instead of traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treats, create your own fun and tasty homemade Halloween treats.

Apple Teeth

Cut an apple into 12 thin wedges. Use two of the apple wedges and spread peanut butter on one side of each of the wedges and place mini marshmallows between the two apple wedges' peanut butter sides. For sharp teeth, use slivered almonds or a slice of strawberry as a tongue!

Boo-nanas

Peel and cut some bananas in half. Stand the halves up by placing them on the flat end. Make ghost faces using chocolate chips.

Clementine Pumpkins

Peel several clementines. To make a stem cut a piece of celery lengthwise and then into one or two-inch logs. Place the celery pieces in the middle of each clementine. Add a mint leaf as a stem for your pumpkin!

Candy Corn Kabobs

Use pineapple, cantaloupe, and bananas to make creative candy corn kabobs. Cut the pineapple ring into thirds to serve as the yellow section.  Next, cut cantaloupe into small slices to be the orange section and sliced bananas to be the white section. Carefully put the three pieces on a wooden skewer together for a healthy candy corn treat!

(Recipes have been adapted from University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.) ###

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