Healthy Living: Staying safe this Halloween

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Halloween still won't be the same as it was before COVID-19, but the good news is that we are better off this year than we were last year.

"Go out there and enjoy Halloween!"

Doctor Anthony Fauci is giving the green light to trick-or-treat this year.

"You can get out there," Fauci said. "This is a time that children love. It’s a very important part of the year for children."

His message comes as the nation sees a dip in new COVID-19 cases and deaths. 

And while a large percentage of our population in Washington is vaccinated, including many kids 12 and up, many children who will be out trick or treating are under the age of 12 which means they’re still not eligible for the vaccine. 

"In general, outdoor activities are relatively safe so you should feel pretty comfortable with your children outdoors," said Dr. Drew Oliveira, Senior Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueShield. "What you really want to watch for is large gatherings so keep the groups small, keep the children in those small groups and you should be doing very well."

As with everything COVID, assess your family’s risk. Do you have children who aren’t vaccinated? Or do you live with family members who are immuno-compromised? What are the risk factors for friends and family that you might have contact with on Halloween? 

"Make sure that the mask is part of that costume - just build it into the fun of creating the ghost the goblin or whatever, and I think that’s a great way to not only encourage the use of masks but also protect the child in case there are social distancing issues that are unavoidable," said Oliveira.

Something else to keep in mind - new numbers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission show about 3,600 people ended up in the hospital over the last 3 years with Halloween-related injuries from pumpkin carving, outdoor decorating, trick-or-treating and allergic reactions to candy.   

You can also get creative when handing out treats - like sliding the candy down a wrapping paper tube into trick-or-treat bags or making goodie bags that you can line up for families to grab and go. And if you're just not comfortable trick-or-treating, maybe a candy scavenger hunt, at home?

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