2021 Halloween Advice
Can you believe that we are on the verge of our second COVID Halloween? With most of our adults vaccinated, we are in a better position to withstand COVID this year, compared with last year. At the same time, there are three main reasons to advise continued caution.
- Halloween is believed to have been the cause of a major spike in cases in the first few weeks of November 2020.
- We weren’t contending with the Delta variant back then.
- Many of our most expert Halloween revelers, otherwise known as kids, are not yet eligible for the vaccine.
Here’s how to celebrate safely during this (second) most unusual year.
- If you are eligible, get vaccinated. Even if you get your first shot today, you will likely have a little bit of protection by the time Halloween rolls around. Vaccination the best way to protect ourselves and prevent the spread of illness.
- If you feel sick, stay home. Even a sniffle is reason enough to stay home this year. While it’s a major bummer, especially for the kids, it is the safest thing for the community. You never know how that little sniffle could affect the 80-year-old who answers the door to hand out candy.
- Gather indoors only if everyone in the group is vaccinated. If you don’t know, it is OK to ask. If a guest says they are not, let them know that you will catch up with them at a different time, when you can enjoy each others’ company outside.
- When you don’t know vaccination status, wear a mask indoors and outdoors if you are going to be in close proximity, and keep all of those visits short. This means that masks are recommended for trick-or-treating.
- Wash your hands before digging in to your Halloween loot.
- If you slip up and wander into a risky situation on Halloween, get tested 3 – 5 days after. If you’re unvaccinated, quarantine between the exposure and when you get a negative result. If you are vaccinated, you don’t need to quarantine. Getting tested helps ensure that you can seek treatment appropriately and that you limit spread to others.
Here's hoping that kids ages 5 – 11 will get the vaccine this fall and that younger kids will follow this winter. If a substantial number of kids get the vaccine, next Halloween can look a lot more like those that we enjoyed before the pandemic. You could say that it will be scary, in a good way.
Donna Barron, RN, is the infection preventionist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.