GENESEE COUNTY — To help ensure the only thing scary about Halloween is the costumes, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued guidance on how to safely celebrate the holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The way we celebrate Halloween in Michigan will be different this year due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “However, there are still many ways to celebrate safely. The guidance MDHHS issued today provides tips for trick-or-treaters and their parents along with homeowners who wish to hand out treats.”
Tips for all groups include staying home if you are sick; maintaining social distancing of at least six feet; wearing a cloth mask that covers both the mouth and nose; and washing hands often or frequently using hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
In addition to the MDHHS guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued recommendations this week. CDC considers trick-or-treating a high-risk activity and offers alternative activities to consider as well as safety tips if parents and children choose to trick-or-treat.
Tips for trick-or-treaters and parents:
• Share with your children that this year may be different than last but let them know some of the new ways you plan to celebrate and still have lots of fun.
• Talk with children about safety and social distancing guidelines and expectations. Keep a six-foot distance from others not in your group.
• Participate in one-way trick-or-treating and guide children to stay to the right to ensure social distancing.
• Trick or treat with people you live with.
• Avoid congregating in groups around houses.
• Wear a face mask covering both mouth and nose.
• A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
• Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask if wearing both causes difficulty breathing. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
• Only go to houses with safety measures in place.
• Check out halloween2020.org to find exciting activities and ways to celebrate Halloween this year based on levels of COVID risks in your area.
Tips for homeowners:
• Use duct tape to mark six-foot lines in front of home and leading to driveway/front door.
• Position a distribution table between yourself and trick-or-treaters.
• Distribute candy on a disinfected table to eliminate direct contact.
• Consider handing out candy in an open space where distancing is possible, rather than from the front door.
• Consider a neighborhood costume parade; it is an easy way to keep safe space between children.
The guidance also urges Michiganders to consider hosting virtual parties instead of in-person Halloween gatherings. If a gathering is hosted, it should be limited to 10 people or less per Executive Order 2020-176, social distancing should be maintained, cloth masks should be worn and food and party favors should be set out individually to prevent cross contamination.
Here’s how trick or treating looks in the View Newspapers coverage area:
Davison, Davison Township and Richfield Township will hold trick or treating hours from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 31. Participation is up to parents and homeowners who wish to pass out candy.
In Burton, Mayor Duane Haskins has approved trick or treating from 5-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31. The city urges everyone to abide by MDHSS guidelines for trick or treating.
The City of Flushing’s trick or treat hours will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Additionally, the Flushing Fire Department will be hosting its annual Halloween Open House on Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m. There will be candy, popcorn and glow sticks for the kids, along with cider and donuts. Social distancing guidelines will be observed, and all parents and kids must wear facemasks. The Flushing Fire station is located on 723 E. Main Street in Flushing.
Mayfair Bible Church will also be hosting a Trunk or Treat on Oct. 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Trunk or Treat will be held outdoors and will follow safety measures outlined by the Genesee County Health Department. Mayfair Bible Church is located at 5339 W. Pierson Road across from Home Depot and Aldi.
Flint Township has set Halloween trick or treat hours for Oct. 31, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Also, the Lamb of God Lutheran Church,2051 Maple Ave., will host a Trunk or Treat on Oct. 31 from 3-5 p.m. Guests are instructed to enter the church parking lot off Maple Avenue and exit onto Van Slyke Road.
Flint Township and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) have opted to cancel the township’s annual Trunk or Treat event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The township’s Trunk or Treat event, which was held at the Genesee Valley Center last year along with a haunted trail, was scheduled to be hosted by Shea Automotive Group later this month before Halloween. However, growing concerns over COVID-19 prompted the township to cancel this year’s event.
In Atlas Township there are no designated hours for trick or treating, while in the Village of Goodrich hours are 6-8 p.m.
Grand Blanc Township and the City of Grand Blanc will allow trick or treating from 6-8 p.m. In Mundy Township there are no designated hours.
In Gaines Township trick or treating is from 6-8 p.m., as well as in the City of Swartz Creek. Trick or treating in Clayton Township is from 5-8 p.m. — View Staff Reports