You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
featured
Operation Friendly Ghost

Annual Halloween activities continue despite COVID-19

  • Updated
  • 4 min to read
Annual Halloween activities continue despite COVID-19

Halloween activities can continue safely on Fort Campbell as long as Families follow COVID-19 safety precautions, experts say.

Operation Friendly Ghost, Fort Campbell’s annual Halloween celebration, is supported by the Fort Campbell Provost Marshal Office along with members of Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, or BOSS, who will provide a safety presence 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31 during trick-or-treating at neighborhood intersections across the post.

“BOSS Soldiers and the MPs will be wearing face masks and practicing social distancing at intersections,” said Wayne Nims, operations officer of the Fort Campbell Directorate of Emergency Services. “We will also limit access to the installation for only DOD and military ID cardholders to limit the amount of traffic. We expect Families will be practicing as much precaution as they can.”

Families should travel in groups of six or less, and a parent or trusted guardian should accompany children as they trick-or-treat.

“Families are recommended to only cross at crosswalks and at intersections with BOSS Soldiers and the MPs who will be assisting in crossing the street and stopping traffic,” Nims said.

The Fort Campbell Provost Marshal and BOSS Soldiers are fully prepared to make Halloween a safe night for trick-or-treaters and Families traveling through on-post neighborhoods.

Extra safety precautions

The installation has established the following COVID-19 safety precautions for Halloween activities:

•On-post trick-or-treating activities are only open to Department of Defense ID cardholders.

•Events must adhere to installation and CDC guidelines – must be conducted outdoors.

•Trick-or-treat by Family unit in small groups of six or less.

•COVID-19 appropriate masks must be worn by all, and not in combination with Halloween masks.

•Store-bought candy only.

•Adults only handing out candy, while wearing face mask and gloves.

•Bowls and plates are not recommended for holding candy to be passed out. If used, tongs or a spoon should be used to distribute the candy to trick-or-treaters.

•Children cannot be permitted to reach into bowl or bag to get candy.

•Individual grab-and-go bags or cups are preferred.

•If you are not participating, turn your home’s porch light off.

•The following is prohibited:

-Those in quarantine or

isolation will not participate.

-No haunted houses.

-No large gatherings or block parties.

Captain Paul I. Ebohon, chief of environmental health at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, recommends the following additional safety precautions to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.

“We’re encouraging everyone to follow the guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Ebohon said. “One-way trick-or-treating is considered a moderate-risk activity if safety precautions are followed. Not wearing face masks, not maintaining 6 feet of distance from anyone not in your household, not employing proper hand hygiene measures, or allowing dozens of hands to sort through candy bowls for favorite treats could make trick-or-treat a high-risk activity.”

One-way trick-or-treating is where individually packaged grab-and-go treat bags or cups are spaced apart and placed where trick-or-treaters can take a treat bag while remaining socially distanced. Those preparing grab-and-go treat bags or cups should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after filling the bags.

Ebohon reiterated the importance of following the installation and CDC guidelines for trick-or-treaters and their Families that include walking in small groups from the same household, staying together and remaining at least 6 feet away from other participants.

Face masks must be worn by everyone and cannnot be worn in combination with a Halloween costume mask, as this can make breathing more difficult. Furthermore, a Halloween costume mask should not be worn as a substitute for a face mask unless the Halloween costume mask is made up of two or more layers of breathable fabric that completely covers the mouth and nose and it does not leave gaps and holes around the face, Ebohon said. Children younger than 2 years old or anyone who has trouble breathing should not wear face masks.

“Families should have extra face masks and hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol with them as well, and should be sanitizing their hands frequently, especially after touching objects such as tables set up for treat bags, Halloween decorations, door bells, door knockers and door handles,” he said. “Individuals with COVID-19 and people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or waiting for test results should not participate in Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating or handing out candy.”

Store-bought and individually wrapped candies should be handed out by adults wearing face masks and gloves, he recommends, and as is stated in the installation safety guidelines. Children must not be permitted to reach into bowls or bags to retrieve candy.

There are ways people could get creative while still safely passing out Halloween candy, Ebohon suggests.

“I’ve seen ideas for candy chutes which are made from PVC pipes that allows candies to be dropped down into treat bags to better ensure 6 feet social distancing,” Ebohon said. “I also recommend laying treat bags spaced out on the porch, driveway, yard or on a table set up outside for Families or children to pick up, and you can put up signs with instructions for how many to grab.”

He recommends not eating candies along the way during trick-or-treat. Wait until you return home and use sanitizing wipes to wipe down the outside of each candy wrapper. An alternative to wiping the candy wrapper is letting the candies sit for a couple of days before eating them.

Hand hygiene is also an important safety precaution. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after returning home and before eating any treats, Ebohon said.

Alternate activities such as Family pumpkin-carving, having a Family Halloween movie night or participating in virtual Halloween costume contests are safe low-risk activities to do instead of traditional trick-or treating, he suggests.

“I do believe we can have Halloween safely,” Nims said. “I encourage parents to watch their children and to stay safe as best as they can.”

INFO BOX 

INSTALLATION SAFETY GUIDELINES 

•On-post trick-or-treating activities are only open to Department of Defense ID cardholders. 

•Events must adhere to installation and CDC guidelines – must be conducted outdoors.

•Trick-or-treat by Family unit in small groups of six or less.

•COVID-19 appropriate masks must be worn by all, and not in combination with Halloween masks.

•Store-bought candy only.

•Adults only handing out candy, while wearing face mask and gloves.

•Bowls and plates are not recommended for holding candy to be passed out. If used, tongs or a spoon should be used to distribute the candy to trick-or-treaters.

•Children cannot be permitted to reach into bowl or bag to get candy.

•Individual grab-and-go bags or cups are preferred.

•If you are not participating, turn your home’s porch light off.

•The following is prohibited:

Those in quarantine or isolation will not participate.

No haunted houses.

No large gatherings or block parties.

Recommended for you