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Statement from the Medical Officer of Health regarding Halloween

To all members of the Hastings and Prince Edward Communities,

The province recently discouraged trick-or-treating in regions that are currently in modified stage 2 in Ontario. HPEPH is also encouraging local residents to consider safer options to celebrate Halloween this year.

While each family can make their own decisions about how they choose to celebrate Halloween, I am recommending that families skip traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating and consider something different this year. As we have seen a slight rise in local cases of COVID-19 over the past few days, we would like all residents to do what they can to reduce transmission in our region.

Instead of traditional trick-or-treating, try:

  • a virtual costume contest with family and friends
  • walking or driving around your neighbourhood to see Halloween decorations
  • hunting for treats at home with your household members
  • an online pumpkin carving contest
  • a spooky Halloween dinner and monster dance with your household
  • an online haunted house game with family and friends
  • sharing spooky stories over the phone or video chat
  • a scavenger hunt in your home or on your property with your family

If you choose to skip trick-or-treating, simply turn out your lights or put up a poster on your front door to avoid any confusion.

I am asking everyone to be respectful and understanding about decisions to opt out of Halloween. Someone may be a Halloween fan, but it may not be safe for them to interact with trick-or-treaters this year.

If you do decide 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 for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it difficult to breathe;
    • Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps and remember to line up two metres apart if waiting. Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects;
    • Whether collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer; and
    • Do not leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab and consider using tongs or other similar tools to hand out treats.

Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health