Health Dept. urges modified Halloween celebrations due to COVID-19

By John McPhaul

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Deputy Health Secretary Iris Cardona recommended on Thursday that Puerto Rico residents modify their celebration of Halloween with safe and fun activities that do not put the health of any member of the family at risk.

“Certainly, this year Halloween should not be celebrated like in other years, but that does not mean that you can not do fun activities,” said Cardona, a pediatrician, in a written statement. “This holiday is anticipated and enjoyed by many, especially children and young people, so it is recommended to use technology and creativity in order to avoid trick-or-treating from house to house.”

The Health official noted that trick-or-treating is not safe because it puts children and adults at risk from direct contact with people outside their family nucleus.

Among the existing alternatives for risk-free celebration, the use of technology is recommended to plan a virtual costume party, decorating competitions and any other activity that, in addition to being fun, promotes safe sharing while avoiding contact with people who are not part of the family nucleus.

Cardona said fun things can be done even within the home.

“The little ones can help decorate the house. Parents can share with children making drawings or crafts,” she said. “In addition, they can join in the kitchen to bake cookies or make decorated food [that evokes] the holiday.”

The Health official likewise urged young people and adults who typically coordinate fancy dress parties on Halloween to do them virtually this year, so as to avoid crowding and physical contact between people.

Other alternatives that health organizations recommend for celebrating Halloween include organizing a virtual cinema with horror movies; there are digital platforms with which it is possible to share movies with other people. Another recommendation is to create activities such as Halloween makeup competitions, so that everyone connects and sees each other’s progress, until they share the final work.

“The important thing is to be vigilant in complying with preventive measures, at the time of planning and during the celebration of the event,” Cardona said. “The prevention of COVID-19 is a responsibility that we must fulfill daily, including during holidays and special days.”

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