Halloween is approaching and while the annual event is normally an exciting time for children with costumes and buckets of sweets, this year things are slightly different. Due to the health risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are wondering if it's safe to go trick or treating at all.
How do we social distance at peoples' front doors with groups of kids eagerly grabbing sweets? Should we try and trick or treat in a safe way or skip the tradition in favour of a celebration at home?
HELLO! spoke to two GPs, Dr Rupert Critchley and Dr Giuseppe Aragona, for their advice on trick or treating on Halloween 2020…
Many children will still want to celebrate Halloween
Can we go trick or treating this year? What safety precautions can people take when trick or treating this year?
Dr Giuseppe Aragona, MD and Medical advisor at Prescription Doctor told us: "If your children are heading out to trick or treat I would advise an adult go with them to ensure they are staying the appropriate distance away from other trick or treaters, and also the owners of the houses they are visiting. If a teenager is going with children, they must ensure that they remain vigilant and keep their distance.
"Of course, most children may wear scary masks, which in itself could act as a barrier, however if not, they must be wearing face masks at all times."
"I would also advise them to wear gloves especially if they are collecting sweets from other households, and keep their hands well sanitised during the process. Once they bring the sweets home, ensure they are wiped over with an antibacterial wipe before they are transferred to a storing cupboard.
"The key thing is to remember social distancing and not get too close to other families out trick or treating as well as other house-holds. They must not enter any households or have any direct contact with any other house-holds."
Doctors are advising trick or treaters to wear masks
Should a person go trick or treating if they have any cold symptoms?
Dr Rupert Critchley advises: "For those who have any symptoms and those at high risk, you should probably not be trick or treating this year. High risk, no way, and people who have cold symptoms of any sort. If you're sick, stay at home.
"Everyone should be actively using the track and trace app, so we can be more aware of exposure in the area."
How can we help older people who may be worried about trick or treaters knocking on their doors?
Dr Giuseppe Aragona says: "I think your best bet is to head to the houses that have Halloween decorations outside. I think this year most houses who don’t wish to be involved may have a sign on their door stating this, or of course, many who do want to be involved will similarly state they are happy to have door knockers by having a sign.
"I think it’s important just to remain aware and respect peoples wishes. If you go to a house, knock and no one answers then you can assume they do not wish to partake."
MORE: Ultimate vitamin D guide: The best supplements, foods and health benefits
Ensure you stick to the rule of six people in a group if trick or treating
What if you want to celebrate Halloween, but you're not comfortable with the coronavirus risk?
Dr Rupert Critchley says: "One option is for households to leave a bowl of sweets outside the front door for trick or treaters, and then you don't have open the door.
"From my perspective, as a GP, door to door knocking, even with masks is probably not the best idea. The safest approach is to do a family event at home, decorate the house and watch some Halloween films together."