As the holiday season approaches, many people are wondering what fall and winter holiday celebrations will look like. The coronavirus pandemic has taken lives, jobs, and normalcy from people across the country — will it take Halloween as well?
While trick-or-treating is outdoors and involves seemingly minimal contact, it is not as safe as it may seem. The CDC released a set of guidelines to supplement state and local rules and regulations, sorting traditional Halloween festivities into high, medium, and low risk categories.
Low risk activities involve household or virtual activities and exclude traditional trick-or-treating. Examples of low risk activities include, but are not limited to: carving pumpkins with your household or at a safe distance with friends; decorating your living space; a virtual halloween costume contest; Halloween movie nights; and a scavenger hunt style trick or treat search.
Moderate risk activities are more social than low risk activities, but safer than traditional Halloween festivities. Examples include: one-way trick-or-treating where goodie bags are lined up for children to grab and go; small, outdoor, socially distanced celebrations; open-air, one-way walk through haunted houses where mask use is enforced; visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where masks are worn and social distancing is maintained.
High risk activities should be avoided, and include traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door; crowded indoor parties; and traveling to areas outside of your community if you live in a COVID hotspot.
Guidelines for Safe Trick-or-Treating
With the CDC advising against traditional trick-or-treating, households are thinking of ways to get creative while staying safe. Wearing masks in public settings is crucial. Costume masks are not considered an adequate substitute for a cloth or surgical mask. Keep this in mind if you or your family is attending an activity that is considered moderate risk.
Handing out candy requires contact with countless children, so consider one way trick-or-treating. Prepare individually wrapped goodie bags with clean hands and place them at the edge of a yard or driveway. While quarantine has provided time for many to hone in on their baking skills, save that for another time and do not distribute homemade goods. Avoid leaving a bowl filled with candy outside. If you are planning on taking children trick-or-treating, stick to a select number of houses to reduce contact.
Unfortunately, viruses do not take a holiday. To avoid a potential spike in cases, follow local health guidelines, and be ready to change plans. It is important to be informed on the status of COVID in your community, and makes smart decisions that ensure a safe Halloween experience.