SATURDAY, Oct. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The truly scary thing about Halloween this year is that it's occurring during a pandemic, but there are safe ways to celebrate, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says.
Suggestions include: virtual costume parties; physically distant, outdoor costume parades; Halloween-themed craft making; movie nights at home; decorating pumpkins; and making favorite treats.
"Many kids look forward to Halloween all year, and it's typical to feel some disappointment as we see how the pandemic has affected our milestone events," said pediatrician Dr. Shelly Vaziri Flais, an AAP spokesperson.
"But we can be flexible and creative, and model this for our kids, too. Halloween is not always the same," she noted. "If parents model a positive and creative spirit this year, children are more likely to pick up on those emotional cues."
This Halloween, experts recommend that children and adults avoid large gatherings, maintain a distance of 6-feet from others, wear cloth face coverings, and wash hands often.
While meeting outdoors is safer than indoors, it's still important to follow safety precautions.
Some communities may discourage trick-or-treating this year. If it does take place in yours, avoid groups or clustering at doorsteps or at any other place.
Residents who plan to hand out treats should wear a cloth face covering, and consider sitting outdoors and handing out individually prepacked treat bags, the AAP suggested in a news release.
If your child goes trick or treating, wipe packages of their goodies with a sanitizing cloth or let them sit for a couple of days before letting your child dig into them.
It's also important to practice good hand hygiene -- such as washing hands or using hand sanitizer -- before and after trick-or-treating.
"This is a good time to teach children the importance of protecting not just ourselves, but each other," Flais said. "The decisions we make on this one day can have a ripple effect on our family members. We can find safe ways to celebrate and create magical memories."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on holiday celebrations during the pandemic.
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, October 2020