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Stay safe while having fun with these 2020 Halloween tips

"A costume mask is not a substitute for a face mask."

KENT COUNTY, Mich — While some may stay inside during Halloween this year, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, others are taking to the streets and parties to celebrate with a night of fun. 

Like other holidays this year, epidemiology supervisor, Brian Hartl, with the Kent County Health Department said Halloween is a time of concern when it comes to catching and spreading COVID-19.

"Anytime you bring people together, there’s potential risk for transmission," Hartl explained.

However, health organizations across the state have come out with precautions on how to keep the fun going, while reducing the risk of getting sick.

First and foremost, the Kent County Health Department warns against participating Halloween gatherings if you are sick and recommends that everyone wear a mask and social distance.

"A costume mask is not a substitute for a facemask, so we want to make sure that people don’t think that 'I’m a gorilla and I have a mask and that’s going to be enough to contain,'" Hartl said.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services advise using only a COVID-19 facemask if breathing becomes difficult with a combination of a facemask and costume mask. 

Hartl explained COVID-19 facemasks can be used as part of a costume as well.

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When it comes to handing out candy, Hartl recommends breaking away from the standard set ups. While it's typical for most to serve candy at their door or by hand from a bowl on their porch, he said a safer alternative would be displaying candy on a table outside for the taking.

"Doing it outside if you can, maybe in the driveway -- setting up a table in front of you where you place the candy on the table to have the kids come up and grab the candy, as opposed to handing the candy out," Hartl said, "We don’t want people gathering at a door. That typically happens, so if you can get a larger space"

Hartl said trick-or-treating can also be a good opportunity for parents to educate their kids on the importance of COVID-19 safety measures.

"It’s important for parents to help the kids understand that it’s going to be different this year with COVID-19, talking to them about social distancing, not crowding around tables, not crowding around other kids," he explained.

While the holidays will look different this year, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommend ideas like an outdoor, neighborhood costume parade, where participants can easily social distance, or Zoom parties for larger groups looking to get together. 

More guidelines surrounding COVID-19 safety this Halloween can be found, here.

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