Police, health officials list ways to stay healthy this Halloween

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 27, 2021

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Halloween is here again, and police are expecting more young people to be walking along the sidewalks and streets this year, with COVID-19 restrictions and fears fading.

Sterling Heights police Sgt. Aaron Susalla said that, as far as law enforcement goes, the department is looking out for the safety of all the children and trick-or-treaters who will be walking the neighborhoods and going door to door.

“We are going to be highly visible in the subdivisions,” he said. “I think people were trick-or-treating less last year due to the heightened levels of COVID. I think we will see more people trick-or-treat this year for sure.”

In addition, Susalla said the department’s Community Outreach and Engagement Officers planned to put together some Halloween safety videos and make social media posts about ideas parents can use to keep their kids safe. Such examples include wearing reflective clothing, or carrying glow sticks or flashlights, he said.

Susalla predicted more Halloween house parties, too, though he added that police don’t get involved with those unless they violate the noise ordinance or something illegal is reported. He asked hosts to be courteous of neighbors.

He also urged the public to drive cautiously that day.

“We asked the adults to slow their driving, especially in subdivisions,” he said. “There are going to be kids trick-or-treating. This is the season we get wet weather and leaves on the ground. The leaves can cause an issue with stopping.”

Because COVID-19 has not gone away, Macomb County Health Department Director/Health Officer Andrew Cox offered an emailed list of Halloween safety recommendations for young trick-or-treaters to avoid taking home a nasty virus.

“Avoid travelling in big groups,” he said. “Instead, stick with members of the same household.”

Cox said trick-or-treaters should stay outdoors and maintain a distance of 6 feet from other groups. Costumes should add a “snug face covering,” he explained.

He also reminded people to practice good hygiene.

“Wash hands before and after trick-or-treating,” he said. “Bring hand sanitizer to use while trick-or-treating.”

And to keep others safe, anyone who is ill or otherwise not feeling well should avoid trick-or-treating and should remain at home, he said.

Meanwhile, homeowners who wish to pass out candy can take safety precautions by putting together separate grab bags of treats instead of having kids grab candy out of one bowl, Cox explained. Trick-or-treaters shouldn’t be allowed inside the home; instead, homeowners can set up an outdoor table and greet visitors at least 6 feet away from the table, he said.

People who like to decorate may set up pumpkin markers on the ground to encourage trick-or-treaters to distance themselves from others, he added.

The department also said they did not recommend “large, crowded Halloween parties” due to high community spread of COVID-19 in every Michigan county. Instead, people who wish to gather for the day are encouraged to do so outside on a smaller scale, with family and friends with whom one frequently associates.

“In addition, individuals who are eligible should get a COVID-19 vaccination (age 12+) and a flu shot,” Cox said for both trick-or-treating and parties.

For more information about the Sterling Heights Police Department, visit its Facebook page by searching for “Sterling Heights Police Department,” or call (586) 446-2800. To learn more about the Macomb County Health Department by visiting health.macomb gov.org.