Dr. Diondra Atoyebi

Dr. Diondra Atoyebi is a family medicine specialist at Piedmont Walton Hospital in Monroe.

MONROE — Costumes, candy, kids ringing doorbells to trick-or-treat and haunted houses all point to one thing: Halloween. With the pandemic, however, our usual Halloween festivities may look a little different this year.

Family medicine physician Dr. Diondra Atoyebi offers some safety tips and tricks for families looking for ways to celebrate safely this season.

“Even though the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic limits some of the activities we’d usually do on Halloween, there are still plenty of new, safe ways that families can enjoy Halloween without putting themselves or others at risk,” Atoyebi, with Piedmont Physicians Monroe Family Practice, said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus that causes COVID-19 at holiday celebrations like Halloween.

“Please avoid coming into close contact with multiple people or celebrating indoors for parties and gatherings where there are large amounts of people in a closed-in space – these are what puts you at higher risk,” Atoyebi said. “Instead, this year, in line with the CDC, we discourage traditional trick-or-treating where we go from door-to-door and are face-to-face with multiple people in the community.”

Instead, Dr. Atoyebi recommends coordinating safer trick-or-treating practices, like drive-by trick-or-treating. Rather than greeting kids at the door with candy, stay in your house and place a table of treats at the end of your driveway — “you can even set up chairs and wave safely from your door,” Atoyebi said.

For those looking forward to trick-or-treaters, she also recommends doing away with the usual giant bowl of treats that everyone grabs from.

“Instead, create goodie bags with individually wrapped candy. You could even have hand sanitizer available, so kids can clean their hands before grabbing a bag,” Atoyebi said.

In addition to safe trick-or-treating practices, she recommends avoiding haunted houses and other indoor Halloween celebrations.

If you want to get into the fall spirit outside, she recommends outdoor activities like pumpkin carving or a family field day. Also, she reminds you to bring your mask when leaving your house.

“You can even get creative and decorate masks to go along with the costumes and encourage your family to wear them if you all leave your home for fall festivities,” Atoyebi said.

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