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Local doctor says children can safely celebrate Halloween, go trick-or-treating

There were 25 mayors from across North Carolina who met Friday with North Carolina health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen. One big topic was Halloween and whether cities should ban it.

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Leslie Moreno
, WRAL multimedia journalist
RALEIGH, N.C. — Twenty-five mayors from across North Carolina met with Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, on Friday. One topic the mayors discussed with her: should cities ban Halloween due to the coronavirus pandemic?
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance about the holiday. The CDC recommends people avoid high-risk activities this year like door-to-door trick-or-treating or indoor haunted houses.

October 31 is many children's favorite night of the year. But this year, it will likely look different in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Christopher Ohl, a professor in infectious diseases at Wake Forest School of Medicine and a physician, said there is a safe way to go trick-or-treating.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time I agree with the CDC, but this time, I’m going to break from them," Ohl said. "I think there is a way to do Halloween safely.”

The CDC said there are few things you need to keep in mind if you are celebrating Halloween:

  • Wear a mask. This does not mean a costume mask -- but rather a mask that is designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
  • The agency is discouraging the use of costume masks this year, saying they are not a substitute for cloth masks. It is also warning against wearing a costume mask over a protective cloth, pointing out it's dangerous because it might make it hard to breathe.
  • Keep your distance. Outdoor activities are encouraged by the CDC because they allow for distance between people.
  • Wash and sanitize your hands frequently if you do decide to go trick-or-treating.

The CDC recommends low-risk activities as safe alternatives, including decorating pumpkins.

When it comes to giving out candy, Ohl said it's pretty safe to set the individually wrapped pieces of candy out on the doorstep. You can also try tossing it, Ohl said.

“You can use tongs like salad tongs," Ohl said.

Ohl also said the one thing to avoid are any indoor parties or activities.

The state said that they would issue their own guidance around Halloween next week.


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