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New health guidelines as parents concerned over Halloween

As COVID-19 continues to change the way we celebrate, concerned mums and dads are beginning to wonder if it’s safe to trick or treat this year.Mum Maureen Gundlach told news.com.au during a normal year this would be a “big Halloween” for her two pre-school aged kids, who are just starting to enjoy the holiday.“I think…

As COVID-19 continues to change the way we celebrate, concerned mums and dads are beginning to wonder if it’s safe to trick or treat this year.

Mum Maureen Gundlach told news.com.au during a normal year this would be a “big Halloween” for her two pre-school aged kids, who are just starting to enjoy the holiday.

“I think right now people are trying to make their plans. From the COVID perspective there’s not much COVID-19 around, but we have to keep up the distancing to keep the numbers down.”

Ms Gundlach, originally from New York and living in Rozelle, said people from the local area were pivoting away from trick or treating and instead hosting smaller parties.

“There was kind of a mix of people having small parties, backyard parties, and taking advantage of the fact it’s Saturday and spending time with families they’re already in contact with,” Ms Gundlach said. “It’s usually a nice chance to see your neighbours face-to-face,” she said, but added people had some concerns this year.

“From people I’ve been chatting with it’s the having a shared basket of candy, or coming into contact with someone they don’t know.”

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She said last Halloween was the first she celebrated in the area.

“(There was) a lot of small kids. A lot of houses in our neighbourhood decorated to signal where you can go and trick or treat.”

Halloween, which is still more than a month away on October 31, falls on a Saturday this year. In a normal year it can be a long night for parents, as they trail around the neighbourhood with sugared up kids, knocking on doors and trick or treating.

Some parents have said because of the pandemic, they’re likely to give it a miss. But others have said they’re happy to continue the tradition with some COVIDsafe measures, like masks, supervision and sanitiser.

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A COVIDSAFE HALLOWEEN ACCORDING TO NSW HEALTH

NSW Health told news.com.au at this stage it is “supportive of Halloween celebrations going ahead – with some caveats”.

NSW Health has six tips for keeping Halloween COVID safe:

• It should be a front yard event, not a front-door event (keep it outdoors)

• Instead of communal lolly bowls, consider other ways of distributing treats (eg strewn along the front fence, have hand sanitiser at the front gate)

• Trick or treat on a household basis (eg a supervising adult and children from the same household), rather than groups of young people together

• Maintain physical distancing between trick or treating households – don’t all crowd together in a pack

• Keep it local – put effort into decorating the front yard rather than focusing on well-known “treat streets”

• Don’t share costume face masks

Will you celebrate Halloween? Let us know in the comments

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.