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Tips to safely celebrate Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic

According to the CDC, trick-or-treating, hay rides, and costume parties will you put you at a high risk of getting COVID-19.

ALABAMA, USA — It has already been a hard year for kids, and now, Halloween will look a lot different. While you don't have to cancel the holiday completely, health officials say it's important to keep COVID-19 in mind.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a list of high risk Halloween activities. Among them are trick-or-treating, hay rides, and costume parties.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health agrees that door to door trick or treating is best left out this year.

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"As a pediatrician, if parents were to ask me would you take your children door to door trick or treating even though they might have a mask and hand sanitizer, I would say no," said Dr. Landers. "I do not think that is a good activity right now given the transmission of COVID."

According to the CDC, moderate risk activities include visiting pumpkin patches and "grab-and-go" trick or treating.

"This would be where children are going to houses and perhaps picking up pre-bagged treats or pre-bagged items that persons would place on a table or on their front porch for each person to take a treat or an item," said Dr. Landers.

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If you're worried about the virus, don't worry about missing out. There are some low risk ways to celebrate the holiday. The CDC recommends having your kids go on a Halloween scavenger hunt and carving pumpkins at home.

"Activities that are just within your home, within the group of your own children, that is the lowest risk," said Dr. Landers.

Alabama avoided a spike in COVID-19 cases after Labor Day, but Halloween brings up the same concerns. The state's mask order will still be in place on Halloween.

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If you do plan on trick or treating, health officials are reminding people that both your nose and mouth must be covered when in public.

"A Halloween mask is not a satisfactory mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Landers. "If you're going to wear a mask, it still needs to be a cloth face covering, not just a plastic Halloween mask which has holes in it for nose, eyes, etc."

Because it is also flu season, Dr. Landers says to go ahead and get the flu shot before Halloween.

Click here for the CDC's full list of high-risk, moderate-risk, and low-risk Halloween activities.

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