Halloween’s not cancelled. Here’s how you can participate

EDMONTON — Despite an increase in COVID-19 case counts, Alberta’s top medical and government officials have given the green light to Halloween activities.

Officials want Albertans to take precautions during their celebrations, and have strictly advised against large indoor parties – the likes of which have been named a culprit in transmission.

“I would strongly recommend that anyone who’s planning an indoor Halloween party reconsider or perhaps limits the guest list. This is not the year to have a large costume party with many people gathered indoors eating and drinking together,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Tuesday.

“That would be a very opportune place for COVID to spread.”

The province recommends any gatherings that are held are kept between cohorts, are held outdoors if possible or in a space with room for physical distancing, and avoid sharing food, drink, cannabis or other items like games.

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As for families who plan on trick-or-treating or handing out candy, Hinshaw said she considers the activity lower risk given it takes place outdoors and usually within small family groups.

She advised families to go trick-or-treating with their household, or a small cohort they are part of.

“Stay distanced from others. Make sure that your distance from people who are handing out candy, things like those candy slides,” she offered.

The province also suggests:

  • Choosing a costume that has room for a mask;
  • Trick-or-treating at a distance, and avoiding touching doorbells or railings; and
  • Disinfecting candy packages.

Those handing out candy should also wear a mask and should avoid leaving out self-serve bowls of bulk candy.

Instead, Albertans handing out candy could:

  • Use tongs to hand out pre-packaged treats;
  • Hand out treats from the driveway or front lawn;
  • Set up a desk or table to keep yourself separated from trick-or-treaters;
  • Build a candy slide, catapult or other “non-touch delivery method”; or
  • Make candy bags and space them out on a table or blanket.

“So trick-or-treating, I believe, is a low risk activity. All the other activities that might happen indoors I would recommend those not happen,” Hinshaw reiterated.

In all cases, Albertans were told to skip out on festivities this year if they are feeling ill, even if their symptoms are mild, and to wash and sanitize their hands often.

Theprovince’s full recommendations are available online.

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