British Columbia

Get candy not COVID-19 this Halloween with these trick-or-treating tips

B.C. emergency pediatrician says with precautions in place, going door-to-door is OK this year.

B.C. pediatrician says with precautions in place, going door-to-door is OK

Delia Chang uses bamboo and a string to lower candy down to trick-or-treaters at her Vancouver home on Halloween last October 2020. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Halloween is on the horizon and if your children are chomping at the bit to get out and get some goodies, one B.C. pediatrician says going door-to-door this year is low-risk, if proper precautions are taken.

Dr. Ran Goldman, who works in emergency at B.C. Children's Hospital, says to make trick-or-treating as low risk as possible especially for children under 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated, it is important that those handing out and those receiving candy practise social distancing, have good hand hygiene and mask up.

"It's easier than last year," said Goldman, speaking on The Early Edition. "But I still think parents should remember very carefully that we're in the midst of a pandemic and protect the children."

He suggested every ghoul and goblin going out this year wear a mask and take sanitizer with them for frequent hand cleaning.

If people follow these precautions, Goldman says it doesn't sound like the annual ritual will "cause any significant contamination."

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry weighed in on Halloween precautions during a news conference earlier this month.

"Keep it outside," was Henry's preference for Halloween festivities.

She also recommended those handing out treats to find ways to avoid actually "handing" them out, saying she saw a lot of "creative things" done last year to reduce transmission and welcomes these innovations again.

In 2020, some people used chutes and slides to deliver candy, while others handed out individually-wrapped treats with tongs.

A house is decorated with Halloween props including a tube fitted to provide candy in a physically distant way in North Vancouver, British Columbia on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

University of Ottawa epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan said handing out candy is also safe and low-risk as long as people take precautions to prevent the transmission of droplets and aerosols.

That means avoiding long conversations and keeping visitors at arm's length, Deonandan said. For those who wish to be extra cautious, they can limit contact by leaving candy on a table, he added.

He also said it's fine for children to go out with friends from other households as long as they're outside together. 

Practise pedestrian safety

October through February is when most fatal accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles occur, according to Const. Rob Dyck with the Abbotsford Police Department, who is reminding people to stay safe when on the streets this fall.

When out trick-or-treating, remember to make eye contact with drivers at intersections and to make yourself visible on the road.

"Even if you're in the right of way, when you're crossing a crosswalk, you've got to walk the line ... you've got to make eye contact. Yes, you've got the right of way, but you'll never win against a big car," said Dyck, also speaking on The Early Edition.

Dyck said there are also too many pedestrians putting themselves at risk by wearing dark clothes on any given day this time of year.

If you or your child's costume is more spooky than sparkly, more black than bright, you may want to slap on a reflective arm band to make sure they are better seen on the street.

He said anyone living in Abbotsford can head to their local police station to pick up a free reflective feather that can be clipped to their clothing to make them more visible.

With files from The Early Edition and Michelle Allan