Halloween Safety Tips

How to celebrate Halloween during COVID-19
Follow these steps to celebrate safely and make sure the only thing to be scared of is the costumes.

Halloween may look a little different this year, but it can still be a lot of fun. Follow public health advice and measures from public health experts, and make good decisions based on your own unique situation.
 
To have a safe and happy Halloween, you should:
 
  • avoid gatherings with people outside of your household
  • stay home if you are feeling ill, even if you have mild symptoms, or if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19
  • turn off your porch light and don’t hand out treats if you are sick, even with mild symptoms, or self-isolating
  • stay within your public health unit region
Check with your local municipality or public health unit for any additional advice or restrictions that may be in place.  If you live in a public health unit region in Stage 3, consider getting a poster to help let your neighbours know whether you are handing out treats.
 

If you live in Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York Region

Given the high transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York Region, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended. Consider alternative ways to celebrate instead, such as:
 
  • encouraging kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties
  • organizing a candy hunt with people living in your household
  • carving pumpkins
  • having a movie night or sharing scary stories
  • decorating front lawns

If you live outside of Ottawa, Peel, Toronto or York Region

If you live outside the modified Stage 2 public health unit regions and are going to go out to trick-or-treat:
 
  • only go out with members of your household
  • only trick-or-treat outside
  • both trick-or-treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering — a costume mask is not a substitute and should not be worn over a face covering because it may make it difficult to breathe
  • do not congregate or linger at doorsteps and remember to line up two metres apart if you are waiting
  • avoid high-touch surfaces and objects, such as railings and doorbells
  • whether you are collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer
  • If you are giving out treats, do not leave them in a bucket or bowl for children to grab. Consider using tongs or other similar tools to hand out treats.
Print a poster to tell trick or treaters if you are giving out treats. For more information, and to print a poster, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-celebrate-halloween-during-covid-19?gclid=CjwKCAjw8-78BRA0EiwAFUw8LA5XXLVC1K5gqOkiTWntM4tVBWJ_Gs5YkGurNopiJGR7iLPp8aH3MhoCAfMQAvD_BwE

Costumes 

When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.  Look for costumes labelled "Flame-Resistant" -- nylon or heavyweight polyester costumes are best. Flame Resistant does not mean 'fire proof'.
 
The best costumes are brightly coloured, flame resistant and reflective.  Add reflective tape to costumes for better visibility.
 
Children should stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
 
Swords, knives and similar accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.
 
Trick-or-treaters should wear sturdy walking shoes that fit properly.
 

Trick-or-Treating

Make sure you maintain physical distancing from others.  Wear a mask.
 
Have flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
 
Follow pedestrian safety and rules of the road.  Trick or treating should be made along one side of the street first and then the other, and that it's best to cross the street only at intersections or crosswalks.  Walk and don't run. Do not cut across yards or driveways.
 
Make your home safe for trick-or-treaters. Remove all objects around the outside of your house that could cause children to trip or fall. Turn your outside light on.
 
Do not to eat any goodies until they are inspected. Make sure that your child eats dinner before they set out, so they'll be less tempted to eat their goodies along the way.
 
Stay in well-lit areas and only visit homes that have their outside lights turned on, and that you can be sure they are participating in trick-or-treating. Children should never go inside homes or cars. 
 
Throw out any treats that are not wrapped, those in torn or loose packages, or any that have small holes in the wrappers. Check toys or novelty items for small parts and do not allow children under three years to play with them.
 
Keep pets inside and away from trick-or-treaters and lit candles, especially if they are easily frightened or become over-excited in the presence of strangers.
 
If you are driving on Halloween, be aware of children, drive slowly and enter and exit driveways and alleyways with extreme caution.  Avoid driving on Halloween, if possible.
 

Parties Should only be hosted within your household!!

  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Ensure that all children in your home know the location of the exits should an emergency arise.
  • Ensure you have installed, working smoke and CO alarms, and practice your home escape plan.

Decorations

It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Tea lights are a safer option and should be outdoors only.   Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.  Ensure you extinguish the flame - do not leave it burning.
 
Avoid decorating with candles or torch lights.
 
Ensure that combustible Halloween decorations such as crepe paper, cornstalks, and dried flowers are kept well away from sources of heat, including light bulbs and heaters.
 
Keep all exits clear of decorating materials.
 
If using decorative lights indoors or outdoors, use lights certified by a recognized organization such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or the Underwriters' Laboratory of Canada (ULC or C-UL). Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. Discard damaged sets. Do not overload extension cords.