COVID-19 isn’t scaring away Halloween

Parents in Newfoundland and Labrador aren’t worried about their kids getting sick. 

James Kelly and his son Finley
James Kelly has always loved Halloween and he’s passed that passion along to his son Finley. The younger Kelly already has his costume picked out. Nick Travis/Kicker

Nick Travis
Kicker

With only two active cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial chief medical officer of health has given the green light to the province’s ghouls and goblins for a spooky Halloween.

James Kelly isn’t worried about letting his son Finley go out for Halloween. 

“We’ve always been a huge Halloween family,” said Kelly. “I’ve never been much for Christmas or Easter or anything like that. My holidays have always been Paddy’s Day and Halloween. So yeah, [Finley] loves Halloween. He loves spooky stuff.” 

Kelly says he doesn’t see it as being a big issue.

“I feel like worst-case scenario … run a Lysol wipe over the wrappers of the candy and the chips before letting him take it. I mean, everything is packaged in a factory somewhere. I mean, that’s where all our food is coming from all year round. The only difference is he’s going to be taking it from a stranger’s house,” he said.

Government does except the ghouls, goblins and ghosts to follow a few rules such as:

Trick or treaters are asked to be respectful of homes not passing out candy this year. Houses that have signs indicating they don’t want visitors are supposed to be skipped.

Children going out for Halloween are supposed to wash their hands before leaving the house, after getting home, and before eating any candy.

Trick or treaters are supposed to stay outside and not enter any homes or indoor porch areas.

Activities with a high-transmission risk such as bobbing for apples are to be avoided.

Janine Ryan agrees with Kelly. Her kids, Stevie and Sophie, are already gearing up for Halloween. Having already got tested for COVID-19 once, both of her kids are aware of the safety precautions they need to take this year.

“I mean my kids are in school, they go to the grocery store,” said Ryan. “They always wear a mask, so I mean Halloween masks, same thing.”

Ryan has Type 1 diabetes, which increases the risk of complications due to COVID-19. She worries about getting sick, but her fear of falling ill doesn’t override her wanting her kids to experience the holiday. 

“There’s not going to be any contact, per se,” said Ryan. “It’s just hold out your bag, drop it in, come home. We can disinfect here.”

Direct contact, though, is not the only issue. Social distancing and the use of non-medical face coverings is the primary defense against transmission. Halloween masks aren’t necessarily effective as non-medical face coverings.

“It can’t all be fear. There are a lot of things we shouldn’t do, but we still do. And children should be allowed to be children.”

She feels her kids deserve to be able to experience the joys of childhood without fear of contracting any illness.

“They were thinking Halloween was cancelled, so when I told them Health Minister Haggie had said Halloween isn’t cancelled, they were really excited. I just think parents need to realize that children need to be kids. It can’t all be fear. There are a lot of things we shouldn’t do, but we still do. And children should be allowed to be children.”

Stevie and Sophie have their Halloween costumes picked out, according to Ryan.

“I’m pretty sure one wants to be a zombie,” she said. “The other one I’m pretty sure wants to be a hot dog or some other kind of food. It’s the little girl who likes the zombies.”

Kelly’s son, Finley, also chose his costume well in advance of the year’s spookiest day.

“He wanted to be Black Panther,” said Kelly. “Unfortunately Chadwick Boseman passed away last month. So it almost seems even better that he chose that now, it’s like a little bit of a memorial for a great man that is sadly no longer with us.”

A full list of government regulations on Halloween can be found here.

Please note: A change was made to this story on Oct. 5 to clarify the statements of one parent in reference to contact and masks.  

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