Those candy chutes that some used to trick or treat safely last Halloween may be a thing of the pandemic past.
"You could certainly use your candy chute if you felt like you need to, but I think there are a lot of other good options this year," said Dr. Julie Holland, a pediatrician with the Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance.
While the coronavirus pandemic is still underway, Dr. Holland said one option we have this year is a vaccine for anyone age 12 and up.
"First of all, get the vaccine," Dr. Holland said. "If you're 12 and older and you haven't had the vaccine yet, it's really a great time to get it to protect yourself and your family."
While many families await a decision from the FDA regarding the Pfizer vaccine for the 5-11 age group, Dr. Holland said the timing won’t allow that younger age group to be fully vaccinated by Halloween.
"Everybody is still very hopeful that sometime around mid-to-late October, that the 5- to 11-year-olds will be okay to get the vaccine. Remember, of course, that you're not fully vaccinated until two weeks after your second dose, so there's no way that the 5- to 11-year-olds are going to be fully vaccinated, but hopefully they'll have started the process by Halloween," Dr. Holland said.
Dr. Holland said that where transmission rates are low you can go back to trick or treating the old fashioned way this Halloween, with a few modifications.
She recommends families stay socially distant and remain in small groups. She encourages adults who are handing out candy to wear a mask and consider stepping outside the house to pass out candy.
If children are outside, Dr. Holland said kids, even unvaccinated ones, can wear their Halloween masks instead of face coverings if they stay socially distant. Families, however, should avoid indoor, unmasked parties.
"We don't want people congregating indoors, eating and drinking. That, we know, is a big risk factor for COVID,” Dr. Holland said.
Dr. Holland said outdoor activities such as Halloween parades, apple picking, corn mazes and haunted trails are a perfectly safe way to celebrate.