As Halloween draws closer, local communities have made their plans to go forward with trick-or-treating at the end of this month, but with some changes put in place to increase safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Beggars Night will be held on Oct. 29 in Shawnee Hills from 5 to 8 p.m. and on the same day in Sunbury, Orange Township, Dublin, and Westerville from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Delaware, Powell, Genoa Township, Ostrander, and Radnor Township will hold their trick-or-treat events from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31. Ashley will hold its event on Oct. 31 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
The Delaware General Health District has published a list of guidelines to keep the events as safe as possible during the pandemic.
The health district recommends that no one participates in the event if they are feeling sick, and it encouraged beggars to perform a health screening before leaving home. Officials said that beggars who live with people who may be at greater risk of COVID-19 should reconsider participating, and children at greater risk of complications from COVID-19 should contact their doctor before participating.
Officials also recommend that masks should be worn at all times, and families should stick together while staying at least six feet from other families. Only one family should approach participating homes at a time, the health district reported. Officials also encourage families to stay in their own neighborhoods if possible and to use hand sanitizer frequently.
Collection bags should have a wide mouth to allow givers to more easily drop candy inside. The health district encourages givers to place a table or other physical object between them and trick or treaters, and givers are asked to place candy directly into the bags of beggars instead of letting children take it.
Preparing goodie bags ahead of time is encouraged, and health district officials said givers should only hang out prepackaged, factory-wrapped items, not handmade treats.
Officials are also recommending that no one eat candy while out treat or treating. Instead, they encourage families to wipe off candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes when they arrive home and before eating candy.
“We all know Halloween activities are going to look different this year, but in order to enjoy them safely, we all have to do our part,” said Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson. “Parents, children, and all other participants should follow COVID-19 safety guidelines to stop the spread, including wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds, and most importantly, staying home if feeling ill.”
More information, including guidelines for trunk-or-treat events can be found on the health district’s website at www.delawarehealth.org
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.