Hampton Roads Gears up for a Hazardous Halloween Due to COVID-19
Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for young people in Hampton Roads and elsewhere in the country. The ever-present threat of the Coronavirus makes trick-or-treating especially hazardous this year.
COVID-19 has forced new guidelines across Hampton Roads. While no city is advising young people against trick-or-treating, they are urging additional precautions for a potentially hazardous Halloween.
Coronavirus Precautions to Take on Halloween in Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads cities urge people not to trick-or-treat in large groups and to be socially distanced. The U.S.Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has highlighted trick-or-treating as a high-risk activity for spreading the virus.
If you do go trick-or-treating, avoid visiting multiple neighborhoods or going door-to-door to homes. Instead, visit places that have candy placed outside in individually wrapped bags. Always bring hand sanitizer and wear a mask the whole time. It is important to note that trick-or-treaters should wear normal cloth masks as costume masks may not offer adequate protection against COVID-19.
Virginia Department of Health recommends households who want to hand out candy should set up an outdoor table to lay out the candy and avoid communal bowls. The VDH says more ambitious people can set up a 6-foot long “candy chute” to deliver their treats. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before getting your goody bag together.
Many Hampton Roads cities are advising people to follow CDC and VDH guidelines to avoid a hazardous Halloween. Although COVID-19 has added a new and unpredictable element to Halloween, kids and parents should also be aware of the usual dangers associated with this holiday.
Other Potential Halloween Hazards
People who are trick-or-treating should do so before dark if possible. Cities have set certain hours aside for trick-or-treating. Virginia Beach has designated a timeframe for children under 12 to trick-or-treat, which is about 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Children 12 and younger can trick-or-treat from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. in Portsmouth and up to 8 p.m. in Hampton. No trunk-or-treating parties will be held in the Peninsula city this year. The VDH recommends people who take part in trunk-or-treat should park in every other space to ensure social distancing. Norfolk is hosting a trunk-or-treat event on Oct. 24 at Lake Taylor High School.
In Chesapeake, trick-or-treating ends at 8 p.m for children up to age 14. In Newport News, trick-or-treating ends at 8 p.m. for children up to the age of 12. The City of Suffolk has organized some drive-through events.
Cities seek to get trick-or-treaters off the streets relatively early in the evening on Oct. 31 for their own safety. Typically, accidents involving pedestrians spike over Halloween as kids cross busy roads. In 2017, Streetsblog USA reported Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for car collisions involving children.
Joel Best, a researcher at the University of Delaware, explained the spike in child injuries and deaths on kids crossing the road, tripping on costumes, and not being able to see properly out of masks. Given the unique considerations of 2020, the officials have suggested lower-risk alternatives to trick-or-treating.
Safer Halloween Activities in Hampton Roads During COVID
Safer activities suggested as an alternative to trick-or-treating by CDC include:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with your family and displaying them;
- Running a Halloween scavenger hunt. Children are given lists of Halloween-themed attractions as they walk outdoors from house to house admiring decorations at a safe distance;
- Decorating your home;
- Hosting a virtual Halloween costume contest;
- Having a Halloween movie night with family members or people you live with.
We expect fewer people to be out trick-or-treating this year. However, it’s important to take basic precautions on the streets. Younger kids should be under parental supervision at all times and should not be allowed to run or wander off across roads. Use a flashlight after dark and avoid dimly lit places and homes that are not decorated for Halloween. Avoid costumes that are trip hazards or may be flammable. Kids should not carry around sharp implements like plastic knives or swords.
Drivers should also be aware of the dangers posed by trick-or-treaters. Watch out for kids crossing the road and drive slowly in subdivisions. If you are celebrating Halloween with alcohol, do not get behind the wheel.
We hope you have a happy Halloween and take care. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers helps people who are hurt in car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accidents. We also represent those hurt in slip and falls and the families of those who lost a loved one in a wrongful death in Virginia. Please contact us via our website.