Prisma Health: How to Celebrate Halloween & Thanksgiving Safely This Year

  • By cvbizz
  • October 8, 2020
  • 0
Holiday Celebrations and covid-19
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The Holidays Are Here!

As the weather cools, the holidays are quickly approaching. For many, this is a time for friends and family to gather and celebrate traditions. During this pandemic year, it’s important to consider alternatives to previous rituals such as travel and sharing of meals. These times call for creativity and perhaps a twist to our standard holiday fare. Consider the following low-risk activities to reduce exposure to COVID-19 to keep your family safe and healthy.


People like a good fright for Halloween, but no one enjoys a COVID-19 scare due to exposure or actual symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers house-to-house or trunk-or-treating options, hayrides with people not in your household, indoor costume parties and haunted houses to be high-risk activities.  To create a safe and healthy environment this year, try a virtual spooky decorating contest with your friends or neighbors. An outside scavenger hunt involving scary decorations in the neighborhood for the children and even parents can create a new tradition for the neighborhood. Or prepare Halloween-themed food and watch horror movies with the family ‘til the witching hour.

Thanksgiving & Christmas

Also, please remember to continue socially distancing,  wearing masks and hand washing.

Many families travel during the holidays to be together during this time of year. These holidays often involve the entire extended family, including grandparents and other elderly family members. This year, caution is essential to avoid exposure to potentially life-threatening illness for vulnerable individuals who are older or have chronic conditions such as obesity, heart and lung disease.

Though it can be difficult to imagine Thanksgiving or Christmas without Grandma, consider her safety and yours in 2020. While virtual holiday celebrations are not the same as welcoming relatives with big hugs, holiday food favorites or baking cookies for Santa, they are much safer than an unexpected guest of COVID being sent home with your human guests. Perhaps swapping recipes or delivering favorite family side dishes safely would create a new ritual to continue.

For situations that involve gatherings during this festive season, keep the groups as small as possible. Gather outdoors and avoid being inside. Transmission of COVID-19 has been demonstrated to be greater indoors compared to outside. Avoid buffet-style meals where everyone touches every ladle and fork. The CDC suggests that families who attend social gatherings should consider bringing meals for their own household. Another option is to designate one person to serve the meals instead of everyone serving themselves to avoid sharing utensils. And, please get your flu vaccine at least two weeks before social gatherings to prevent additional spread of respiratory viruses.

When it comes to Secret Santa gift exchanges or holiday parties, an online swap of gift cards or home deliveries may add a twist to in-person office gatherings. Instead of work holiday parties, considering investing those dollars into donations to help meet needs in our greater community.

Though the year has been challenging and our spirits have been tested, opportunities remain to celebrate, rejoice and gather safely.

Saria Saccocio, MD, is a family physician, mother of two and ambulatory chief medical officer for Prisma Health.

Saria Saccocio, MD, is a family physician, mother of two and ambulatory chief medical officer for Prisma Health.

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