As cold weather sets in and restrictions tighten, it’s clear that the holiday season will look even less like a normal than did the summer. Earlier this month, Canadians took Thanksgiving with just their immediate households, while folks stateside will get their first real look at the discrepancy with Halloween. The State of Colorado, Garfield County and Town of Carbondale have all issued suggestions on how to celebrate responsibly.
“The winter’s just beginning. I think there’s pretty common agreement that things have gotten bad quickly,” noted Mayor Dan Richardson. “We’re finding that social events where multiple families get together are a noteworthy cause for the outbreak. That’s where we need to be strict and hold each other accountable so that we don’t have to close down schools and businesses.”
“Halloween is, to me, one of those situations where there’s not a strong need to go outside our protocols,” he added. “Naturally, children are likely to have a hard time remembering to wash their hands, keep their masks on, and practice social distancing when they are excited about Halloween candy, so we strongly urge parents and the community to consider doing it differently. That’s one reason our police officers will be handing out candy throughout the day — so that kids can have the fun with less risk.”
Families with children 13 and younger may request goodie bags by social media messaging and calling the police department during business hours at 963-2662.
If you do decide to trick-or-treat, Children’s Hospital experts say one of the safest things you can do is have children wait 48-72 hours before digging into Halloween candy collected trick-or-treating. That’s a long time to wait for kids, so parents should consider having a small stash of candy on hand that was purchased ahead of time for kids to enjoy immediately.
Adults should trick-or-treat with kids to help enforce social distance — particularly limiting time in doorways. Costume masks are not a substitute for an approved COVID-19 face covering. Just like preparing a costume that can incorporate a winter coat, plan a costume that incorporates a mask.
It’s also worth communicating with your neighbors to find ways to hand out candy while keeping appropriate distance. Use a slide or tubes to deliver candy from a distance, or place it at the end of a driveway or yard’s edge.
As for the adults, indoor Halloween parties are particularly discouraged this year. It may be reasonable to host smaller and carefully-organized events that promote safe practices like face coverings, hand washing and social distancing. While the weather may make an outdoor gathering difficult, consider projecting a Halloween movie onto the garage door. A small group or could watch as long as they are following all precautions per the social distancing calculator — and emerging statutes which prohibit more than two households from gathering.
If you are in isolation, quarantine, have been exposed to, or are sick with COVID-19, do not participate in any in-person activities, including handing out candy.
Although Richardson was the lone vote against the Town’s mask ordinance, he now believes that the evidence in favor of current precautions is solid.
“We’ve learned a lot as a country what works and what doesn’t work. Not only do they have good data, but they have good instructions,” he said. “I feel like it’s worth everyone’s time to get up to speed on the protocols.”
He praised the community’s efforts thus far.
“I think we’ve done a great job; we just need to keep it up and stay diligent,” he said. “That personal accountability is going to be what I think makes or breaks the winter.”