Trick-or-Treating This Year? Here’s How.

Because of the coronavirus, Halloween won’t look like it has in the past.

But depending on the incidence of the virus in your community, it may be safe to trick-or-treat in a modified way

First, the official guidance:

According to Dr. Tanya Altmann, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, “As long as your family is staying six feet apart from other families, you’re outdoors and you’re not touching commonly touched surfaces, it can be OK to go door-to-door in your neighborhood.”

However, the C.D.C. has different guidelines. The agency says that traditional trick-or-treating, indoor costume parties and “trunk-or-treats,” where candy is handed out from cars in parking lots, are all higher-risk activities to avoid →

If you decide to go trick-or-treating:

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Wear masks at all times. You should also bring sanitizer and step back after knocking on a door, suggested Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

If you’re giving out the treats:

“You don’t want to just leave a big bag of candy outside your door, because that just leads to a bunch of hands coming into the same pot,” said Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

He recommended leaving candy spread out in “distinct, ‘grabbable’ clusters” or using goody bags instead.

If you plan to open the door, you should have a mask handy and keep your distance, added Dr. Schaffner.

Or have Halloween at home.

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For younger children, who might have a hard time keeping masks on or controlling themselves, an at-home Halloween may make the most sense.

Dr. Altmann plans to set up a pumpkin piñata in the yard and also have her kids hunt for candy.

“As long as they get to say ‘trick or treat’ and get excited and have a few pieces of candy, that’s all they need,” she said.

You can also show off costumes over video chat, plan a scavenger hunt or decorate pumpkins.

Be ready to manage disappointment.

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Frame the changes in a positive way: They’ll help keep people safe “like how their favorite superheroes try to keep people safe,” said Dr. Neha Chaudhary, a children’s psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Chaudhary recommended being extra empathetic.

Try something like: “That’s O.K. You were looking forward to trick-or-treating, and I’m sure lots of other kids are feeling sad too. But don’t worry, because the next time we get to trick-or-treat it will be even more fun!”

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