Health officials recommend people avoid trick-or-treating, surge could impact Thanksgiving


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Health officials are recommending people to stay at home with loved ones on Halloween instead of going door-to-door to trick-or-treat.

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For people who choose to trick-or-treat, officials offered tips on how to do it safely.

Local health leaders said that Halloween will be a test to see if people can follow basic health guidance like mask-wearing, social distancing and not see a surge in cases in the coming weeks when Thanksgiving rolls in.

As for trick-or-treating, health officials said they are concerned that too many people out and about in the same neighborhood could lead to spread.

“I usually take the kids to trick-or-treat in Manoa, and it’s amazing,” explained Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who said he is avoiding trick-or-treating this year. “And even when people did that in the past, it’s a packed street.”

He said people in large amounts of groups so close together, or stopping to chat with other groups, could cause spread.

“That will cause an incredible amount of close contacts and it will be impossible to trace and you’ll see spread,” he explained.

For people who do decide to participate in the long-time Halloween tradition, both the person giving out treats and the kids receiving the treats should remain outside and stay six-feet apart.

Dr. Kalani Brady with the John A. Burns School of Medicine said that everyone should limit their groups to five people, and make sure that parents bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with them.

“Make sure that at the end of each house, you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” he said.

Officials want to remind people that costume masks are not effective against COVID-19.

“We know they usually have holes in them for you to breathe through your mouth, so it’s not doing the kind of protective measure that a cloth face covering is,” explained Kauai District Health officer Dr. Janet Berreman.

Health officials said that people should not wear cloth masks under a costume mask because it can restrict breathing.

They said it is up to everyone to avoid large Halloween gatherings so people can look forward to small family gatherings like Thanksgiving.

“If we can get it right this time and not see a surge, then that can give us some confidence that we know what to do for the holidays that are coming,” Dr. Berreman said.

Lt. Gov. Green said that we would see a spike about 15 to 20 days after a significant event.

“That’s smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving,” he said. “Halloween is awesome. But it’s not worth sacrificing that progress that people have sacrificed to make.”

Dr. Brady reminds people to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 to 30 seconds once they get home from trick-or-treating. He said adding gloves to your costume is also smart to do.  

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