Peeved parents are hellbent on keeping the spirit of Halloween alive amid rigid new COVID-19 guidelines.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its guidelines for the family-friendly holiday Monday, kids were as crushed as if they’d gotten toothbrushes in their candy bags. The guidelines included an item boo-hooing the much-beloved pastime of trick-or-treating.
“Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” the agency wrote in the new advisory, which also frowns upon “crowded costume parties held indoors,” haunted houses, hayrides and tractor rides with people from outside of one’s household and “trunk-or-treat [events], where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.”
But Jennifer Galperin, 41, a mother of two from Long Island, is among the parents who say the guidelines won’t scare them out of giving their kids a traditional Halloween, even as coronavirus deaths pass 200,000 in the US.
“It’s outdoors, costumes are another layer of defense and some kids are wearing masks and gloves. Plus, there’s pre-packaged candy. It’s COVID-safe,” she maintained. “Let kids have some normalcy.”
“There will definitely be a divide,” said mom Dana Hodermarsky of her Long Island town. “I can see the moms’ [Facebook] page blowing up with photos of kids trick-or-treating now. It’s sad how our community loves to shame moms and kids.”
The 41-year-old mom of two boys, ages 5 and 7, will be taking them trick-or-treating next month — her 7-year-old wants to dress up as Mathew Barzal from the Islanders and the 5-year-old wants to be a character from Minecraft. But she’s not sweating any backlash. “I’m not afraid of being shamed. I posted photos all summer. People need to do what is best for their family without shaming others.”
The CDC’s guidelines don’t seem to apply to Long Island, where some schools have reopened, Hodermarsky claimed.
“There is no reason, if students can sit in a classroom all day, that they can’t trick-or-treat with their friends,” she said. “Young children are being robbed of important childhood experiences and memories for fear of a virus that barely affects them.”
Other Halloween die-hards aren’t backing down either.
“My kids will be going trick-or-treating,” said a defiant Vicki Ferretti, a 35-year-old mother of two girls, ages 8 and 5, from Long Island.
“I’m sure there will be parents who think it’s not OK to go trick-or-treating and that’s OK — they are allowed to have their opinions,” said the stay-at-home mom, pointing out that this is the year everyone’s been waiting for. “It’s finally on a Saturday this year, and kids have suffered enough during the last few months. I think it’s smart if neighbors just leave out candy instead of opening the doors, but if not, my kids will have masks on and I don’t see how it’s any different than going and buying candy from a grocery store.”
The mom takes issue with the CDC’s guidelines, saying labeling traditional trick-or-treating a higher risk activity makes no sense.
“If there’s any holiday that I would say is the safest, it’s Halloween,” Ferretti said. “A lot of costumes include a mask and gloves anyways. And leaving candy outside and not opening your door holding a basket of candy is a way to still be socially distant.”
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