By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4)– There isn’t a ban on trick-or-treating this year in Denver, but health officials have set guidelines to follow if you plan to celebrate.

“It’s more scary because there’s an actual monster,” Jennifer Ellis said.

Ellis is mom to a 5-year-old boy, and she’s referring to the COVID-19 virus.

“This year he wants to be Jake from State Farm so I’ll just put a regular mask on him.”

(credit: CBS)

To minimize risk, Denver and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment issued the following recommendations for people who choose to participate in trick-or-treating:

  • Have adults accompany trick-or-treaters to help them follow precautions;
  • Trick-or-treating should be done with people you live with;
  • Keep six feet apart from those not in your household;
  • Limit the time you spend at doorways;
  • Stay in your own neighborhood;
  • Take a break in between multiple homes and have your kids clean their hands with sanitizer;
  • When you get home for the night, wash your hands immediately;
  • Save the candy eating for when you return home;
  • Those who are immune compromised or not feeling well should not participate in any activities and avoid visitors.

DDPHE also said wearing a protective face mask is important, but warned that wearing a costume mask over a cloth face covering may make it hard to breathe.

“Costume masks are not a substitute for cloth face-coverings unless they are made from two or more breathable fabric layers that cover the nose and mouth, with no gaps around the face,” the website states. “Consider a Halloween-themed cloth face-covering as part of the costume.”

Denver officials said handing treats out at the door is a low-risk activity, but urge people to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and avoid “having lots of little hands reaching inside a bowl or leaving a bowl outside your door.”

(credit: CBS)

“Also, it won’t hurt to disinfect your doorbell, buzzers, or other high-touch surfaces outside your home at evening’s end,” the DDPHE website states.

The state health department is encouraging alternatives to traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating this year to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, such as:

  • Line up individually wrapped treats at the end of the driveway or yard’s edge;
  • Use a plastic slide, cardboard tubes, or plastic pipes to deliver candy from a distance;
  • Take kids on an outdoor, distanced scavenger hunt to look for candy or Halloween-themed items.

State officials made additional suggestions to minimize the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. People should not participate in any in-person activities, including handing out candy, if they:

  • Are sick, especially with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are currently in the quarantine period.
  •  Have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in the isolation period.

“What you want to do is just extend your arm and your kids can pick up candy in this bag here at a social distance,” Desiree Cowan, Spirit Halloween Manager demonstrated a loot and scoot bag.

(credit: CBS)

Spirit workers like Cowan are helping customers come up with more creative ways to protect themselves.

“People are asking for face masks specifically from us so we are getting a lot of folks asking, can I accessorize this with my look,” she explained.

Celebrations are supposed to be smaller.

“I still want my son to feel like he’s involved and enjoy it,” Ellis added.

All Hallow’s Eve will certainly be different this year, though some still find reason to be in good spirits about it.

Health officials also addressed haunted houses and corn mazes. They recommend the following:

  • Follow indoor/outdoor event guidance.
  • Require timed reservations to limit occupants, lines, and areas of congestion.
  • Create a one-direction flow of participants with signs, directional arrows, and spacing indicators.
  • Remind participants before arrival and onsite to stay home if sick, exposed, positive for COVID-19, or quarantined.
  • Use signs to remind participants to use masks, maintain distance, and wash hands.
  • Set up handwashing stations.
  • Eliminate common-touch items and props.
  • Consider exclusively outdoor spaces.
  • Require COVID-19 masks at all times, except when eating or drinking.

Jacqueline Quynh

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