ST. CLOUD -- Health officials are asking families to approach Halloween a little differently this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us rethink several events, activities and traditions and Halloween festivities are no exception.

Dr. Nipunie Rajapaske is a Pediatric Infectious Disease expert with the Mayo Clinic. She says health officials are advising against trick-or-treating this year for several reasons.

One is the proximity, if you are handing out candy you typically have to be within six feet of that person. The other part is related to the exchange of items like candy and the fact the virus can survive on items.

She says while length of contact with someone handing out candy is short, there is still a risk factor involved.

Rajapaske says to consider starting a new Halloween tradition with your family this year.

Some examples would be a virtual costume party, carving a pumpkin, a scary movie night, having scavenger hunt around your home with just your immediate family members.

She says it's important to make sure your kids are involved in the decision process and remind them that this isn't going to be a forever change to Halloween.

She adds if you should choose to go out trick-or-treating, make sure you and your kids follow all health and safety recommendations such as wearing a mask, and not the kind that comes with a costume.

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