Only trick or treat homes that have lights on and keep group numbers down this year as the pandemic continues.

Trick-or-treating is back this Halloween, however the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means there are extra factors to consider when planning activities. The American Red Cross offers these tips to help keep families safe, according to a press release. 

“Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the U.S. and with most communities returning to normal activities this school year, people should expect a higher volume of visitors in search of tricks and treats,” said Randee Krumwiede, executive director of the Greater Kansas City and Northwest Missouri Chapter. “Whether you’re handing out goodies or going door-to-door, with just a few simple considerations you can make sure your family and those around you are safe and sound.”

Here are the top tips for parents to keep in mind while getting their kids ready for Halloween this year:

1. Make the cloth mask part of the costume. A costume mask is not a safe substitute for a cloth mask. Avoid wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing difficult.

2. Plan outdoor activities and avoid indoor events where the risk of virus transmission is higher.

3. Bring hand sanitizer while trick-or-treating and use it after touching objects or other people. Wash those hands once back at home. 

4. Avoid trick-or-treating in large groups, and social distance from others around the neighborhood.

5. Make sure trick-or-treaters can see and be seen. Give kids a flashlight to light their way and consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.

6. Plan the trick-or-treat route in advance and make sure adults know where their children are going. A parent or responsible adult should accompany young children door-to-door.

7. Be cautious around animals, especially dogs.

8. Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. Avoid running. Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner. Don’t cross between parked cars.

9. Only visit homes that have a porch light on, and never go inside.

10. Make sure a grown-up checks the goodies before eating. Make sure to remove loose candy, open packages and choking hazards. Discard any items with brand names that you are not familiar with.

For those planning to welcome trick-or-treaters to their homes, follow these safety steps:

• Give out treats outdoors, if possible.

• Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters by setting up an area with individually bagged treats for kids to take. 

• Maintain social distancing and wear a cloth mask.

• Light the area well so young visitors can see.

• Sweep leaves from those sidewalks and steps. Clear the porch or front yard of obstacles someone could trip over.

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