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            Halloween 2020: Are Alabama parents letting their kids trick or treat?


            During the coronavirus pandemic, traditional trick-or-treating is considered a higher risk activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

            Is it safe to celebrate Halloween during the coronavirus pandemic? People in Alabama are grappling with that question this year, as case numbers continue to rise in the state.

            Parents, for example, must decide if they’ll allow their kids to go trick-or-treating this weekend. And if so, will they take safeguards to protect their children and reduce the prospect of virus transmission to other family members?

            The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for Halloween that call traditional trick-or-treating a “higher risk” activity to be avoided. (In other words, kids shouldn’t crowd into doorways and stick their hands into communal candy bowls.)

            For a “moderate risk,” the CDC recommends an approach that includes individually wrapped goodie bags and social distancing. In that scenario, trick-or-treating is a one-way activity and bags are lined up away from the door, at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard.

            The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued guidelines for Halloween activities that echo the ones issued by the CDC.

            Halloween guidelines

            Is it safe to celebrate Halloween this year? The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued guidelines for coronavirus prevention to help people make decisions for their families.(Courtesy of Alabama Department of Public Heath)

            As Halloween approaches on Saturday, AL.com asked parents and others to share their views on trick-or-treating via a Facebook post. Specifically, we asked: Are you letting your child trick or treat? Do you think it’s OK or too dangerous?

            Nearly 400 comments came in, with responses that ranged from an enthusiastic “Yes!” to a determined “No.” Here’s a sampling:


            “We are trick or treating! My children deserve a normal, happy night! They have had enough stripped away from them this past year!” -- Kristin Etheridge Samples

            “No one is forced to participate just like no one is forced to go to Walmart or out to dinner. Participate if you like and keep your hands clean. I have decorated and will set up my table in the driveway and greet trick or treaters in my costume. I did individually bag the candy and made a sign that says ‘Touch only one, take only one.’ I also will have hand sanitizer available.” -- Renee James

            “We live out so no trick-or-treaters here. If my child were younger, we would be going. As it it, we have plans with friends doing their own trunk or treat for their younger kids and their friends. If we can go to Walmart, football games, and the fair, then they can trick or treat.” -- Tania Sargent Middlebrooks

            “Yes -- we are trick-or-treating. We will wash our hands a lot and we are putting a bowl of candy out for the other kids. Happy Halloween!” -- Meri Tarbox Duggan

            “Hitting every festival and trunk or treat we can ... my kids are missing nothing else this year.” -- Jaclynn Long Traffanstedt

            “I hope they trick or treat as usual. I already have my little goodie bags prepared. I will place them at the end of my driveway on a table where the kids can pick one up safely as they walk down the road. I will be social distance away but greeting the crowd in my costume. We normally have hundreds and I hope to again this year. Be creative. We can make this outdoor activity safe.” -- Lisa Parton

            “Not going to disappoint the children we had 400 last year. Everything is bagged and each child will get their own treat bagged.” -- Kim Ruffin

            “I will be taking my kids trick or treating and then to our church’s Hallelujah bash.” -- Kayla Hawkins

            “My daughter wants to trick-or-treat so we are going to three family members' homes.” -- Paulette Daniels

            “We will wear masks and trick or treat in our neighborhood.” -- Darcy Power Glasgow

            “My kids are grown but I would let them if they were young. My grandson will go.” -- Sylvia Cagle Holcomb

            “I don’t have kids, but I will be out in my front yard among the decorations with a table of grab bags full of treats for kids to get with no contact. I’ll also be playing ‘Hocus Pocus’ on a screen for any who want to hang around and watch a few minutes.” -- Noel Tate

            “I have to work but I will be dressing up and hopefully (pending approval by boss) giving out candy to any kids that want it.” -- Cheryl Birch

            THESE FOLKS SAY NO

            “No, we’ve decided to not go door to door, but we will be putting candy outside on a table for the neighborhood kids. ... I’m bagging individual bags of candy on a table.” -- Kelly Wilson Spencer

            “I’m doing some indoor and outdoor decorating to be festive. Otherwise, for I am staying in and eating ‘Boo’ Oreos and watching Halloween movies and spending quality time with my dog. I always loved going door to door as a kid, and I have enjoyed handing out candy in the past. Not this year. Too much is at stake this time around. I already have a door sign reminding people who I am not expecting — and especially if they are not masked — to please not knock or ring the bell. If anyone does knock or ring, I will just jump out in the hazmat suit I bought so I can hug my mom.” -- Jennifer Elizabeth Roberts

            “We haven’t door to door in years. Usually do a carnival at our church. But not this year.” -- Vickie Mccoy

            “Me and my family are just gonna do a Halloween movie marathon by bringing out the projector and setting our carport up like a movie theater.” -- Kelly Nix

            “No, but we rarely do since moving to AL. We do candy, Halloween movie night instead!” -- Jessika Rose

            “Our house is immune compromised. We have costume-like pajamas, giant candy bars, pizza and spooky movies with the lights out.” -- Jennifer Lovell

            “We will be doing something at home. I got a cake made and kids will be in costume. House will be decorated.” -- Aimee Aimee

            “Only by drive thru at the church, not door to door. Safer alternative.” -- Laura Satterfield

            “We’re gonna have a Halloween party at home just with family.” -- Zena Jewel Hensley

            “No, I would not let mine, have a great party at home for them!!” -- Virginia Pritchard

            “Staying home and being smart.” -- Summer N Eric Johnson

            “No way! I am doing a treasure hunt for candy and some simple plaster eggs with party favors inside. I’ll make a little map of our yard and the nearby cul-de-sacs. It’ll be a lot of fun and safe.” -- Shawna Ross

            “I would not risk my child’s life by taking him trick-or-treating. I don’t trust Alabamians to do the right thing.” -- Nicole Kilgore Pinson


            “We want to go. Still undecided. I hope everyone will wear masks and consider laying candy out instead of handing it out. If we’re all considerate of each other, it can work and we can all have some fun.” -- Wendy Johnson

            Dr. Erin DeLaney, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, encourages families to consider alternative activities for Halloween during the pandemic.

            “Think outdoor pumpkin carving and playing some Halloween music, or having different types of activities where people are not going to be gathering closely, or not all touching the same things, would be ideal," DeLaney says in a UAB press release. "Utilizing outdoor venues is what we are recommending -- we really urge against doing Halloween activities of any kind inside this year.”