Much to the relief of tens of thousands of children across Canada, on Oct. 13 Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam announced that Halloween 2020 could go on. Tam said that the sense of normality provided by celebrating Halloween is important, and that with proper precautions fun could still be had during this annual spookfest.
Keep in mind, though, that provinces and municipalities still have the ability to place their own restrictions on their residents. It is possible that the Government of Alberta, or its cities, could decide to suspend trick-or-treating this year, depending on the severity of the pandemic. The numbers over the Thanksgiving weekend were not encouraging, with close to 1,000 new cases reported and frustrating new trends being revealed of people failing to show up for their tests (or cancelling them altogether), plus those who have tested positive refusing to provide complete information as to their whereabouts for the benefit of contact tracers.
Handing Out Candy Safely
Provided the annual “fright night” goes ahead, the Government of Alberta has out together several Halloween safety tips for both those handing out candy and their costumed recipients.
- Everyone going door-to-door should be feeling well and have not had any symptoms of COVID-19 for the last 10 days.
- Those trick-or-treating should only go out with their family or cohort.
- Choose a costume where a mask can be worn comfortably.
- Everyone should stay two metres apart.
- Shout “trick or treat” instead of dinging doorbells (or knock).
- Disinfect hands often and especially after touching surfaces.
- When home, wash hands thoroughly, sanitize candy wrappers, then wash hands again.
Households thinking of handing out candy should also not do so if anyone has been feeling unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 10 days. In addition, when answering the door:
- Wear a mask that fully covers the mouth and nose.
- Use tongs to hand out candy.
- If possible, hand out candy from your front yard or driveway instead of your doorway.
- Put up a sign asking trick-or-treaters to avoid the doorbell (instead shout “trick-or-treat” or knock).
- Place a table outside of your doorway to help keep proper distance.
- Do not leave out self-serve bowls.
To stay away from the door but still hand out candy, place candy in individual bags and leave a few out on a towel placed over a table with instructions for trick-or-treaters to take just one when they arrive. Refill between visitors. Or, get creative and put together a no-touch candy delivery device, such as a candy slide or drop.
General Trick-or-Treating Safety
Trick-or-treating safety tips for every year include:
- Costumes should be made out of light-coloured and bright fabrics.
- Place reflective tape on the arms and legs of costumes so children can be seen easily.
- Children should be able to see easily through masks.
- Costumes should be easy to move in and not too long so as to cause tripping.
- Dress for the weather, using layers.
- Groups of children should always be accompanied by an adult.
- Stick to well-lit streets.
- Ensure children know to stay on the sidewalks, cross the street at crosswalks, and watch carefully for traffic at all times.
Halloween and Your Insurance
Many homeowners don’t think of it at the time, but Halloween is actually a very risky holiday. It’s a very fun event that can lead to serious accidents … followed by liability concerns.
- Ensure your property is well-lit, including steps and pathways.
- Check around for any tripping hazards (even on your lawn … kids don’t always walk where they’re supposed to!).
- Secure decorations well so that they don’t blow away or become an impending peril. Also ensure you are following the directions for proper use.
- Do not use candles or open flames.
- Don’t overload circuits.
- Do not string extension cords over pathways, and never staple an extension cord to hold it in place.
Don’t forget, as well, that Halloween usually leads to a 24% increase in crime-related insurance claims in neighbourhoods, according to USA Today.
- Park your vehicle in a garage or a safe place for the evening. If you are unable to, remove everything from the interior that may entice someone to try to break in.
- Keep your property well-lit outdoors to deter vandalism and prowlers and ensure it appears that someone is home (keep your TV turned on).
- If you’re planning on closing down your home and escaping to somewhere quieter, don’t post your plans on social media. You never know who might be looking for an easy opportunity. Inform a neighbour you trust that you will not be there so they can help keep an eye out.
- Even if you’re home and handing out candy, keep your doors locked in between answering.
- Keep your dog under control and away from the door to prevent a dog bite. Dogs can be unpredictable, especially in unusual circumstances.
Lane’s Insurance Keeps all Your Loved Ones Safe