Local costume shop describes seeing an increase in foot traffic, offers ideas for safe Halloween


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local costume shop Arlene’s Costumes said the official ‘Halloween season’ starts this weekend: they’re expecting more costume events, and game nights. Shopper Niya McBean agrees.

“People want to get out, they’re tired of being inside, we’re still gonna make it happen,” said McBean. She said she’s looking at more intimate gatherings and parties. “More of a daytime setting, game nights are really popular more intimate than just going to a club … Charades, Jenga, Giant Jenga.”

The Monroe County Health Department said trick-or-treating can happen with proper PPE and guidelines – but they’re offering some recommendations for adults to stay safe too. These include keeping gatherings small, keeping them outdoors when possible, social distancing and more.

Over at Arlene’s costume shop, owners said they’re helping customers come up with safe and creative ways to celebrate – whether they’re parents with children, or adults just looking for a good time.

“Just because the CDC itself said trick-or-treating is not a good idea, doesn’t mean there aren’t other ideas that can be done,” said Terry Sinopoli, Marketing Manager for Arlene’s Costumes. “You can have a small party at home, you can include people in over zoom or other video chat, you can have a piñata.”

Sinopoli said when it comes to wearing a mask – your typical costume mask alone won’t suffice. “From what we understand from the CDC and the county, they are still recommending to wear a mask underneath so obviously wear those masks, they’ll still be safe to do that, you’ll be able to breathe. Many costumes don’t have masks too, you can wear them without,” she said.

Sinopoli said you can always opt-out of wearing a bulky costume mask if it’s to uncomfortable – there’s other options like a masquerade mask that just goes over your eyes, or a washable medical mask that’s screen printed with a fun design or theme.

Dr. Emil Lesho, DO, is an epidemiologist and infectious disease doctor at Rochester Regional Health. He advised to think of three v’s when assessing your risk: ventilation – are you in a poorly ventilated area? Venue – outdoors is better than indoors for social distancing. And vocalization – are people screaming or singing loudly?

“An example would be, your typical haunted house, they’re pretty small, indoors, everybody screaming their head off – if it’s a good one – so that would be a high risk situation,” said Lesho.

He said gatherings of over four or five people are considered large – and recommends you stay below that. And as always – he said be smart when you drink. “When you add alcohol that impairs people’s judgement,” he said.

Lesho also emphasized a link on the CDC website that offers guidance on which kinds of activities and gatherings are considered low, medium or high risk as we approach the holiday season.

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