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The tricks to getting treats safely this Halloween, according to a doctor

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in Southcentral Pennsylvania, a doctor weighs in on how to stay safe this Halloween.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — You bought your costume and candy for the kids, but COVID-19 cases are surging in Pennsylvania. What do you do? Can Halloween happen?

FOX43 spoke with medical professionals to see what they have to say about the spooky holiday.

"I think it's possible, but obviously, we're going to have to make some significant modifications this year compared to what would be considered a normal year, given the fact that COVID-19 numbers are definitely rising. South Central Pennsylvania is seeing a large increase in the number of hospitalizations," explained Dr. Bill Leppert, a family practitioner for WellSpan Family Medicine in Chambersburg.

Dr. Leppert shared some tricks so people can still have their treats.

"Certainly, the one thing we have to remember is wear a cloth mask, two ply, breathable fabric," explained Dr. Leppert.

The doctor says costume masks are not a substitute for cloth face coverings.

What about washing candy or sanitizing it?

The CDC is also recommending a couple of things: 

  • People should avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters
  • Leave a bowl of candy outside, if at all possible
  • Parents should keep some sanitizer on hand 
  • Wash hands frequently
As many people in the United States begin to plan for fall and winter holiday celebrations, CDC offers the following considerations to help protect individuals and their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19. These considerations are meant to supplement- not replace-any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply.

"[After grabbing candy] Use sanitizer right afterwards. Keep your hands clean. Do not touch your face," said Paramedic Nate Shorter of Lancaster EMS. 

The CDC also says traditional Halloween activities can increase the risk of getting COVID-19. Dr. Leppert suggests a walk-by Halloween parade in your neighborhood or a socially distant movie night. He says he does expect to see more cases after the scaring is all said and done.

"Let's put it this way -- we hope not, but you know the truth of the matter is, people are people I know we're all a little COVID fatigued," said Dr. Leppert. "Realistically, in this environment our safest way is to provide children with our own candy and celebrate under different circumstances."

Dr. Leppert also suggests handing your kids your own store-bought candy.

What about parties? Should adults be hosting them? 

"Adult parties are a concern because I think adults tend to have a little more cavalier attitude moments," laughed Dr. Leppert. "At least that's what we've seen, and I want to make sure that we understand that this is not the time to let our guard down."

For those people a little too scared to trick-or-treat this year, there are other ways to celebrate at home. 

Civil War Ghosts has introduced four new initiatives including a self-guided ghost tour in Gettysburg and other locations, the ability to steam ghost tours at home, a haunted doll named Lily, and a voice-command app that tells ghost stories. 

Use Lily to ward off other ghosts and ghouls around Halloween. Put Lily on a porch, hang her on a door, put her on a shelf. Don't put Lily in a room where you sleep! A Halloween Season Tradition. Pre-order now. Ships September 15!

FOX43 got to meet Lily during an interview with Owner, Lance Zaal. 

The CDC suggests decorating your home for Halloween, carving pumpkins with members of your household or outside with neighbors or friends, walking from house to house and admiring Halloween decorations from a distance, visiting an orchard, forest, or corn maze, attending a scavenger hunt, walking through a haunted forest.

If you do trick-or-treat, the CDC has released some tips.

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