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Keep Halloween scary, but not too scary

Package treats in individual bags instead of handing them out loosely to trick-or-treaters this Halloween.
Package treats in individual bags instead of handing them out loosely to trick-or-treaters this Halloween.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

You can be an evil goblin, a wicked witch or anything else you want to be this Halloween.

Just don’t be sick.

That’s a last-minute reminder from Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health as the big night approaches.

“The most important thing to remember is that if you are feeling ill, or self-isolating for any reason, you must refrain from trick-or-treating activities,” Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said Wednesday during the weekly COVID-19 briefing.

The same goes for those doling out treats.

If there’s no one in the house available to do so, Fitzgerald advised residents to put a sign on their door.

“I ask everyone to please be respectful of any household not giving out treats this year,” she said.

Another trick: give out individual bags rather than scattering loose treats into kids’ containers.

“While the risk of the virus transmission on packaging is low, parents or guardians may wish to set aside any collected treats not wrapped in individual bags for a few hours,” she said.

For grown kids

Halloween is normally when George Street in St. John’s holds its annual Mardi Gras — a curious misnomer, since Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is actually a pre-Lenten festival.

While there is no official event this year, Fitzgerald warned any costumed revellers heading downtown to follow the same pandemic rules for nightclubs as they would at any other time.

As for Halloween parties, Fitzgerald said the usual concept of people-space-time-space should apply.

“Keep social gatherings within your usual bubble of family and friends,” she said. “Smaller gatherings lower the risk of transmission, and many of the outbreaks elsewhere in the country have been ignited and fuelled by social gatherings with extended groups of contacts.”

Here are some other tips from Public Health:

Handing out Treats:

• Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before handing out treats.

• Wear a non-medical mask when handing out treats.

• Don’t let children grab their own treats from a a common bowl or container.

• Frequently disinfect common touch areas (handrails, doorbells, doorknobs, etc.)

Trick-or-treating:

• Children should wash their hands before they leave their home, when they arrive home and prior to eating any treats.

• Limit your close personal contacts by trick-or-treating with people from your bubble.

• Maintain physical distancing with members of other bubbles and take turns visiting residences to avoid mixing with other bubbles.

• Avoid entering indoor porch areas when getting treats.

• Parents or guardians should accompany children.


Peter Jackson is a health reporter in St. John’s.

— With files from Diane Crocker

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