5 alternatives to trick-or-treating 

HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals recommend more treats and less tricks this Halloween considering the real and increased presence of COVID-19 in our communities. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls traditional trick-or-treating “high risk” for COVID-19 exposure.  
HSHS nurse educator, Hannah Schroeder says it’s important to remember the pandemic is still in place. “It’s easy to let our guards down, especially as the fun holidays approach, but being physically distant, wearing face coverings and sticking to home is still the best prevention against COVID-19 and the flu, which is also ramping up now,” she says.  
While traditional Halloween activities may look and feel different this year, based on each community’s celebration recommendations, there are alternative ways to keep the spooky holiday special, such as the following: 
  • Create a scavenger hunt around your backyard using flashlights to find hidden candy and other goodies your child/children enjoy(s) 
  • Decorate an area in your house, turn on scary music, wear costumes and record a Halloween family greeting to share on social media or via text to friends and family 
  • Have a movie night watching some of mom or dad’s favorite Halloween classics; maybe “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” 
  • Play yard games like ladder golf, croquet and cornhole under the light of solar lights and this year’s full moon 
  • Host a virtual Halloween party to show off your costume and play virtual games  
Schroeder says contact-less trick-or-treating is possible, if allowed in your area, by creating individual treat bags and leaving them outside your door. “Just keep in mind that the person preparing the bags should use good hand hygiene when preparing those bags, even though all treats should already be individually sealed,” she said.  
Costume and traffic safety are also important. According to the National Safety Council, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The organization strongly recommends the following safety measures be kept in mind if trick-or-treating is going on as planned in your area: 
  • Use flashlights, glow sticks, and reflective tape on costumes so you are visible in the dark 
  • Stay on sidewalks, cross at designated intersections, and stay in well-lit areas 
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be carried and used frequently 
  • Only trick-or-treat with people from your household 
  • Wear a cloth mask instead of plastic, latex or silicon; a traditional Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering 
  • Avoid eating candy until returning home and using proper handwashing 
HSHS hospitals suggest following these additional National Safety Council guidelines, as well as injury prevention tips from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  
If an injury or emergency arises, call 911 or visit the HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital emergency department in Eau Claire or the HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital emergency department in Chippewa Falls. Our ERs are safe, clean and open 24/7 to help when needed. 

Media Contact

Karen Kraus

Communications Department
HSHS Wisconsin
Office: (715) 717-4747
Cell: (715) 717-4256

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