LANSING, MI – As the excitement around Halloween heightens, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services remind residents to take precautions -- from both a COVID-19 standpoint and to assure food safety -- to assure a safe and fun celebration.
“COVID-19 cases are unfortunately on the rise in all parts of the state, and activities like trick-or-treating or indoor Halloween parties significantly increase the risk of transmission or exposure,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We recommend that families avoid trick-or-treating and consider other ways to celebrate this year.”
Alternative Halloween celebrations open the door to creativity and family fun. Ideas for celebrating include scavenger hunt style trick-or-treating, decorating the house, having a virtual Halloween costume contest with friends and family, or staying in and watching Halloween movies dressed in costumes.
If you choose to participate in trick-or-treating activities, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:
Food safety is also an important part of keeping Halloween safe and fun. Before trick or treating, remind children not to accept or eat anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. These items may not have been properly made or packaged and could contain bacteria that may cause foodborne illnesses. Children should also be fed a light meal or snack to keep them from eating candy before you’ve had a chance to inspect it.
“It’s important for parents to look through their child’s Halloween candy,” said Tim Slawinski, MDARD Food and Dairy Division Director. “Parents should look for signs of tampering such as discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers, and throw away anything that looks suspicious.”
For your Halloween celebrations, follow these simple food safety tips: