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Rutgers professor discusses Halloween celebrations amid pandemic

Henry Raymond, an associate professor and epidemiologist at the Rutgers School of Public Health, said Halloween activities at home with family members are the safest option this year.  – Photo by Pxhere

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced that Halloween will proceed in New Jersey this year provided people take precautions against the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to an article from Rutgers Today. 

Families should consider what is most important to them as well as the various ways they can celebrate the holiday, said Henry Raymond, an associate professor and epidemiologist at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

“Family activities at home are safest,” he said. “That being said, stick to small family-based groups, mask, social distance.”

Trick-or-treaters should limit their groups to current household members or otherwise practice social distancing among those not in the same household, consider staying local and limit the number of houses they visit, according to guidance released by the New Jersey Department of Health.

Those handing out candy are more at risk when it comes to trick-or-treating, Raymond said.

“People who are uncomfortable opening doors should consider turning their lights out and not participating or packaging candy in small (bags) and leave them out for (trick-or-treaters) to pick up individually,” Raymond said.

Outdoor activities are recommended over indoor parties and events, according to the guidance. Those planning celebrations or participating in Halloween activities should remember public health recommendations of social distancing, wearing masks over the nose and mouth and hand hygiene.

Costume masks cannot substitute for cloth or disposable masks, according to the guidance.

Recommended socially distant activities include virtual activities such as online costume parties, drive-through events, carving pumpkins with family, decorating homes and yards and Halloween-themed movie nights with family, according to the guidance.

“Make Halloween a candy hunt in your own haunted home,” Raymond said. “Don't go to parties. The risk of transmission increases greatly as the number of people interacting increases.”


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