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Doctors warning against trick-or-treating this Halloween

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Halloween is less than a week away and while many municipalities haven't canceled the event, public health experts are urging against typical celebrations.

In Wisconsin, people are used to dealing with snow and cold on Halloween.

But this year, health experts are recommending staying warm inside and finding another way to celebrate.

"Trick-or-treating right now, with how much COVID we have in our communities is a very high risk activity,"Dr. Jeff Pothof with UW Health is echoing the call some public health agencies are making, recommending against the way people typically celebrate Halloween.

"Often times you've seen it where a group of kids will all run up the driveway at once, and now you've got 8 to 10 kids from three different families all approaching the house at the same time. That's just way too much mingling and we're going to have transmission of the disease if we do that," he said.

Depending on where you are, Halloween and trick-or-treating will still be going on despite WI DHS recommending against going door to door and interacting with people in person.

For example, both Janesville and Baraboo have trick-or-treating hours this year, but Beloit and Monroe don't.

In Dane County, officials say if people follow public health guidelines, trick or treating can be a low risk activity.

"We're asking you to not go with people that you don't live with, to not come within six feet of people and to stick to your own neighborhood and wear your face coverings," Janel Heinrich, PHMDC Director, said.

Dr. Pothof said that mask wearing is on the top of the list when it comes to mitigating the "significant risk" that trick-or-treating will bring this year and it has to be a real mask.

"Spiderman, Batman, all those masked heroes, unfortunately they're not immune to Covid-19 and just wearing a Spiderman mask isn't going to protect you," Pothof said.

Public Health Madison and Dane County is also strongly discouraging people from hosting and attending parties and large gatherings even if they're outside.

For example, in Madison the annual Freakfest has been cancelled.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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