Trick-or-treating during COVID-19: Tips to stay safe this Halloween

Medical experts from Texas Medical Center institutions are offering helpful advice to stay safe during Halloween. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Medical experts from Texas Medical Center institutions are offering helpful advice to stay safe during Halloween. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Medical experts from Texas Medical Center institutions are offering helpful advice to stay safe during Halloween. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

With Halloween on the horizon, the outlook for safer and healthier activities now that a COVID-19 vaccine is available for individuals age 12 and older is much brighter compared to last year, according to an infectious disease expert with the Baylor College of Medicine.

Community Impact Newspaper spoke with Dr. Jill Weatherhead, assistant professor of pediatrics, tropical medicine and infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, to get the rundown on some safety tips families can follow as their young ones trick-or-treat.

“We are fortunate to have a COVID-19 vaccine available now, so engaging in Halloween activities will be less risky this year compared to last year,” Weatherhead said in an Oct. 20 news release. “Even though young children are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine yet, having the vaccine available to older kids and adults really changes the landscape in terms of the safety of trick-or-treating this year.”

This comes as Harris County and the city of Houston have reported significant declines in the number of COVID-19 cases with 133 new cases reported Oct. 28. That compares to the nearly 3,000 new cases reported by both entities Sept. 23.

The key to being properly prepared for a visit to a trick-or-treating spot is to know the COVID-19 transmission rates in that community, Weatherhead said.


“It's not uniform everywhere that you go,” Weatherhead said in the news release. “There are places where community transmission is out of control, and it’s not safe to be in that situation without distancing, masking and vaccines. Then there might be another area where the community transition is controlled, and those mitigation strategies aren't as necessary.”

Also important is to get vaccinated if you are within a vaccine-eligible group; that helps prevent transmission within your community and allows for holiday events to be safer, Weatherhead said.

“In mixed-vaccinated company where there are children who can’t receive vaccines yet, having as many adults or older children vaccinated will create a safer environment,” Weatherhead said in the news release.

Adults that are unvaccinated, meanwhile, should wear masks, and all families should keep masks on hand in case they encounter a crowded area while trick-or-treating even outdoors, Weatherhead said. In addition, the safest practice is to maintain distance from individuals in different households if their vaccination status is unknown, and families should ensure that kids wash their hands thoroughly after they get home and before they start digging through their candy stash.

For any high-risk individuals looking to give out candy during Halloween, Weatherhead suggested that in addition to getting vaccinated, they should set up a treat table to keep distance instead of having direct contact with children trick-or-treating and should wear a mask.

Meanwhile, those partygoers looking to celebrate during Halloween should look to do so in an outdoor setting, Weatherhead said.

While COVID-19 does remain top of mind, Weatherhead is also urging families to not forget about getting vaccinated against the flu, which is available for everyone over six months old. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu for those who are eligible is the best way to keep everyone safe and healthy this Halloween, Weatherhead said.

“We want to get back to normal; we want to have these fun activities, and we have the opportunity to do that, but everybody has to do their part to be as safe as possible,” Weatherhead said in the release. “We have the tools, we just have to use them.”
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

Tewbeleaux's Cajun Grill opened in Northwest Austin on Nov. 2. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Tewbeleaux's Cajun Grill opens first Central Texas location in Northwest Austin; House of Pies opens in Cypress and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 8.

The Bellaire City Council unanimously approved a motion Dec. 6 to name Fire Chief Deacon Tittle as interim city manager following the recent departure of former Interim City Manager Brant Gary. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bellaire names interim city manager for short term, directs staff to seek proposals for services

The Bellaire City Council unanimously approved a motion Dec. 6 to name Fire Chief Deacon Tittle as interim city manager following the recent departure of former Interim City Manager Brant Gary.

The Gringo's location in Katy is pictured. A new Conroe location is planned for late 2022. (Courtesy NewQuest Properties)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Gringo's restaurant confirmed for Conroe Waterfront Center; Austin’s longest-standing H-E-B to be rebuilt and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 7.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland and US Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced the lawsuit against Texas on Dec. 6. (Screenshot courtesy of Department of Justice)
U.S. Dept. of Justice lawsuit alleges Texas' redistricting maps discriminate against voters of color

The suit alleges that the Texas Legislature redrew the maps to reduce voters of colors' influence on elections.

The business has maintained an average tenure with its employees of 10 years. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Family-run Beautique day spa continues decadeslong success

When founders Frank and Ginny Burge opened the salon’s first iteration in 1956 in Rice Village, it was a 1,000-square-foot space.

The 6.5-mile project will be an important connection for the pedestrian, bicycle and transit networks, according to city officials. (Courtesy Austin Public Works)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: City of Austin begins design of urban trail on abandoned rail corridor; 12 things to do in and around New Braunfels this holiday season and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 6.

Two restaurants will be coming to Blossom Hotel Houston in early 2022. (Courtesy Blossom Hotel)
Blossom Hotel Houston announces 2 new restaurant concepts

Check out which restaurants will soon come to Blossom Hotel Houston.

Consuelo Mendez Middle School has consistently received poor ratings from the Texas Education Agency. (Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: State could take over AISD school board if poorly-rated campus does not improve; new furniture store to open in McKinney and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 3.

Julia De Leon, a Harris County Precinct 3 resident and essential worker, spoke Nov. 30 at commissioners court in favor of establishing the Harris County Essential Workers Board. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County creates board for essential workers during ongoing pandemic

Local essential workers will now be given a voice to improve working conditions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic after the Harris County Essential Workers Board was established during the Harris County Commissioners Court session Nov. 30.

Bellaire takes regional approach to future-proofing stormwater system

Over the next several months, Bellaire will look to leverage regional partners as it advances on a master drainage concept plan designed to reduce the flooding potential within the city and the surrounding areas.

Although it is still to be determined how much funding trickles down to Houston from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden Nov. 15, city officials are looking to be prepared for when new competitive grant programs open up and start taking applications. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Here is what the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could mean for Houston

Although it is still to be determined how much funding trickles down to Houston from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden Nov. 15, city officials are looking to be prepared for when new competitive grant programs open up and start taking applications.