The City of Grand Rapids has released some tips for homeowners, parents of trick or treaters and those who plan on having a Halloween gathering.

When I looked these tips over they seemed to be very common sense ideas but at least there is something to reference for those who are unsure how to approach Halloween during a pandemic.

According to WZZM, unlike other cities across the country who have canceled Halloween activities, Grand Rapids wants kids and parents to have fun but for people to follow some safe guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Like you, I have had some concerns regarding Halloween this year since I have a 7-year-old son, so no matter what you decide for your family, be safe.

The city of Grand Rapids worked with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Kent county Health Department and the Grand Rapids Police department to provide suggestions for your family to apply to your Halloween celebration.

For homeowners who will be handing out candy to trick or treaters, if you are not sick or have a fever, its simple, don't hand out candy. Make sure you wear a mask properly and if you can, hand out candy outside while social distancing to the best of your ability with families visiting your home. Just like in the grocery story, mark lines 6 feet a part on your sidewalk or driveway that leads to your front door. If you have the option to have trick or treaters enter from one way and leave another, that would help cut down on groups getting close to one another instead of walking back down through the line. Make you use a table or some sort of divider between you and the kids and keep the area disinfected. Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer. If you are willing to go the extra mile, even have some hand sanitizer on your table for kids and parents to use.

For families and their little trick or treaters, talk to your kids and let them know trick or treating is a bit different this year but still try and make it fun. Unfortunately if you or anyone in your group is sick, you have to stay at home out of respect for others who are out in your area. You have probably already spoken to your children about social distancing and the six foot rule, but reiterate those guidelines and encourage the kids to wear gloves. Trick or treat with people from your family group and avoid congregating to close to other groups near homes. All parents should be wearing masks that cover their mouth and nose and make sure the kids do the same. Maybe find a fun way to incorporate a safe mask into your child's costume. A Halloween mask is not a substitute for a safe mask. If a house doesn't seem to providing safety measures, skip that one and go to the next one. As always inspect candy and use alcohol wipes to wipe down packaging before kids get their hands on it.

If you are planning some sort of Halloween gathering, only have a few people who you know have been following guidelines that are in your family's bubble over. Don't have more than ten people at any event to follow the city ordinance. Set your party up socially distanced so there is not chance of cross contamination.  If there are food and beverages at your event, keep them separated and placed individually, no buffet style gatherings. There is nothing wrong with buying your kids some candy and to do a Zoom party with others so they can show off their costumes with family and friends and maybe get creative and play some games for candy.

Trick or treating hours run from 6 to 8 p.m. Have your front porch light on and only visit homes who are properly lit. Make sure all kids of any age are properly chaperoned with an adult. Reflective material on costumes or Halloween bags can help kids be visual while crossing streets when it gets dark. Stay on one side of the street then walk down the other side of the street to limit how many times you and the kids cross the street. Avoid strangers homes and especially if someone is in a car trying to hand out candy. Do not let the kids eat the candy until it is examined by an adult. If you happen to be driving during Halloween hours, plus the time leading up to it and after, beware of the kids and parents that are out there, you just never know when a kid may pop out between a couple cars.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.

Rainbows After the Storm - June 11, 2020

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