Masks are a natural but that's about the only thing people can count on as they start to think about what Halloween will look like this year, especially for young children out trick-or-treating.
Going from house to house to collect candy in the traditional way is going to be risky, according to Jason Tetro, a microbiologist and author who calls himself The Germ Guy
"You're mixing your contacts all over the place," Tetro said in an interview Friday.
Tetro suggested residents could put out a cauldron of candy for kids to collect without having to take it by hand but then pointed out that, too, has its issues.
"It's going to be a high-touch surface so you're never quite sure what the status of that is going to be and it's really hard to disinfect it between trick or treaters."
Tetro recommends the now-normal precautions: wear a mask, bring hand sanitizer, practice physical distancing and maybe stick a little closer to home — even a neighbourhood block party might work, he said.
"For this particular Halloween, because we're still getting used to this, stick to your neighbourhood and just hope that your neighbours know you well enough to be able to get the treats that you and your children like," he said.
"You're going to know the coronavirus status of your neighbours much better than you will say, a completely separate environment."
People are 'thinking ahead'
Tetro also said to let candy sit overnight before touching it — most virus germs should be gone within a day.
The province hasn't released advice or guidelines yet on how to have a safe Halloween but Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Friday that she knows the occasion is a special time for many people.
"I actually got an email from a nine-year-old Albertan this week who had some suggestions for me on Halloween, so I know there are people thinking ahead," she said during her Friday update on the COVID-19 situation.
"The best thing we can all do is to keep our case counts low," Hinshaw said. "Make sure that we're following public health guidance right now so we set ourselves up for success and an opportunity to have an enjoyable Halloween."
Residents on Grande Boulevard in Summerside are brainstorming on how to do Halloween differently this year.
The strip is a popular place for thousands of trick-or-treaters.
Rhonda Navratil, a real estate agent who lives on Grande Boulevard, had more than 2,000 visitors last year.
"We love decorating our homes, we love having the children come," Navratil said."It's almost like a block party kind of atmosphere, so we love that."
Navratil said masks would work, especially at Halloween, but crowds are the issue.
She also said usually she's on her porch between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., welcoming kids. She doesn't know how that will look. "I thought, what do I do — put a table out with candy on it and space it out individually and let kids pick it up themselves?"
She said someone in the neighbourhood suggested blocking off the street, but she is unsure of the costs and city requirements.
The city has no specific plans for Halloween yet but officials have reached out to Alberta Health Services to inquire about guidance will be provided, said city spokesperson Chrystal Coleman.
"We know how much the young people of our community enjoy Halloween and we also know how quickly things may change related to COVID-19 before the end of October."
Traditionally the Edmonton Valley Zoo hosts a Halloween event but it is still too early to know whether the city will hold one there this year, Coleman said.
The DARK event at Fort Edmonton Park is scheduled to go ahead but no details are yet available.