TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -The Pima County Health Department (PCHD) updated its Halloween guidelines to include best practices for trick-or-treating.
Last month, the local health authority advised against trick-or-treating all together.
“This isn’t not replacing those previous guidelines; this is really just supplementing that information,” said Aaron Pacheco, a spokesperson for PCHD. “At most, we still do really encourage folks to find other ways to celebrate the holiday; the drive by events we are starting to see all around town, fun ways to stay at home, those will be safest. At the same time, we also recognize people have some questions about the more traditional activities.”
PCHD is asking all trick-or-treaters to wear a cloth face covering. The department says it’s not a good idea to put a costume mask on top of a cloth mask, as it can make breathing difficult. Try to maintain at least six feet of distance between your group and others, and sanitize regularly.
For those planning to hand out candy, make sure you’re outdoors. One option is to pre-package candy bags and lay them out on a table or station to avoid direct contact.
Some homeowners are finding other creative ways to satisfy people’s sweet tooth.
Casas Adobes resident, Peter Hughes, looks forward to October 31st each year.
“Halloween is huge for us. It also happens to be my birthday,” said Hughes. “It will be my 50th birthday this year, unbelievable! So, we are not going to let COVID stop Halloween.”
As someone who lands in the ‘high-risk’ category for the virus who also has a son with Type 1 diabetes, preventative measures are key.
“We’ve just got to adapt and overcome and keep the smiles under our masks,” he said. “This year we are just going to have to keep everyone back a bit because we are COVID-free and we want to stay that way. In the meantime, we want to keep the spirit of Halloween alive.”
So, Hughes plans to turn a wide PVC pipe into a candy chute.
“[We will decorate the shoot,] we will build a witch on top of it, have it hang,” he said.
It eliminates the need for close contact with trick-or-treaters.
As the Hughes map out their decoration plans, several Winterhaven homes are already decked out. One woman says she plans to tape goody bags to popsicle sticks and stick them in her yard for people to take.
For Mark McMahon, who was taking his two young children costume shopping on Wednesday, the plan is to avoid high-traffic areas.
“We will just play it by ear, go around the neighborhood and see which houses are participating and which ones aren’t,” he said. “[If we come up on a group], we will just hang back and give lots of space.”
“If we were seeing the sort of numbers that we were seeing in the summer, this information would be very different,” said Pacheco. “It’s also important to remember that the things we do and the actions that we take influence those numbers. Even though we are doing well right now in Pima County, we have to be mindful it’s because we are taking those steps."
“We can be safe and still let the kids be kids,” McMahon said.