NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Families across Arkansas will celebrate Halloween this weekend and safety is a top priority this year.
For the cities of Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville the feeling is the same, city officials tell us people are encouraged to follow the safety guidelines in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and are asked to celebrate responsibly.
Tony Murphy with the Fayetteville Police Department said officers will be out and about keeping an eye on all of the little ghosts and monsters this weekend.
He recommends parents going out at night to equip their children with reflective gear, so they’re visible to the parent and to traffic. Murphy reminds drivers to be extra vigilant on the road and to watch out for trick or treaters.
Also, parents, don’t forget to check your kids’ candy before letting them eat it.
Dr. Gary Berner, with the Fayetteville Board of Health, said there are risks associated with participating in traditional Halloween activities like trick or treating.
“We worry about the risks of our kids yelling out trick or treat, and then sticking their hands in the bag, other kids coming behind them and unfortunately potentially catching it that way. So, we really need to be creative this year,” said Dr. Berner.
Dr. Berner reminds you to wear a COVID-19 protection mask when you are near people outside of your immediate household and to wash your hands often.
Dr. Berner tells us it’s not about taking Halloween away from your family, it’s about finding creative ways to enjoy it that don’t increase the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Dr. Berner is a father and said he also has a kid who is super excited about Halloween. He understands the tough spot families are in. However, it doesn’t take away the fact that we are in the middle of a health crisis so he says take the precautions seriously.
“This is really not the year to go to every neighbor’s house and go to homes that you’re not familiar with, where you’re not sure what their coronavirus precautions are,” said Dr. Berner.
Local mom, Haley Edwards said Halloween is a big deal for her family, a time to get dressed up and create memories together. She plans to find a safe way to enjoy the festivities even if it’s at a distance.
“I don’t want to take this away from my son and I don’t want to take his youth away because we don’t know how long this pandemic is going to last. We are just kind of up in the air,” said Edwards.
Edwards said although she is skipping the traditional trick or treating, her family does plan on setting up a table in their yard with individually wrapped bags of candy. The kids will be able to stop by and pick up a treat.
Dr. Berner said that is a perfect example of a safe way families can take part in Halloween activities. Other recommendations include avoiding direct contact with trick or treaters, give treats outside if possible, and wash hands before giving treats.