Halloween in the time of coronavirus

To trick-or-treat or not to trick-or-treat, that is the question. It’s been on the minds of hopeful children and concerned parents everywhere. As the weather gets colder and the holiday approaches, here are important pieces of information and safety tips for celebrating Halloween in the time of coronavirus.

Is it legal to ban trick-or-treating?

While many cities across the country have “strongly discouraged’ trick-or-treating, there is no power to create or enforce a ban at the federal level. All regulations have to come from state and local health officials, and many locales will not put a full ban in place. Such laws can be difficult to oversee, and would require a heavy law enforcement presence, taxing resources. The focus on safety has primarily come through public health officials, working to educate families.

The CDC has labeled trick-or-treating as a “high risk” activity. Because of this, we have provided tips on how to enjoy Halloween in the time of coronavirus!

COVID-19 Halloween Safety Tips

  • Choose to skip trick-or-treating this year. Sidewalks and yards can get crowded with clusters of children and parents, and strangers may not appreciate someone walking up to their door. Children may not mourn the loss of candy as much if they are provided with candy bags filled with goodies. Some companies are even selling Halloween gift baskets – a spooky take on the Easter basket!
  • Do not attend “trunk-or-treat” events, where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots. There is a lot of crowding and handing out candy beyond six feet isn’t feasible.
Halloween COVID-19 masks

Photo credit: SuniseClothingGifts / Etsy

  • There is no shortage of fun options for Halloween-themed masks online (pictured above).  Wear them throughout October to spread a little cheer. Remember, costume masks are not a substitute for a cloth mask, and masks should not be double-layered. Ideally, you should incorporate a Halloween-themed cloth mask into a costume.
  • Avoid crowded costume parties held indoors. Outdoor parties can be safer if the attendees wear masks. Everyone should social distance if they need to remove their masks for eating and drinking.
  • Do not visit indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming. This transmits particles into the air at a greater volume. If you attend an outdoor, one-way haunted forest or corn maze, wear a mask and ensure you are socially distanced from the party behind you and in front of you.
  • Avoid hayrides or tractor rides.
  • It is not recommended that you travel to a rural fall festival that’s far your community, if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.
  • If watching a Halloween movie in which there will no doubt be screaming, invite fewer people and make sure you are beyond six feet apart. Screaming can be a strong transmitter of COVID-19 from an infected person.
  • Avoid crowded Halloween costume parades. If the event is not crowded and people are wearing masks, enjoy from a safe distance. If you are participating in a Halloween parade, be sure to stay at least six feet away from the people behind you and in front of you.
  • Host a costume party on Zoom where everyone is required to dress up. Make it exciting by giving away a prize for Best Costume.

No one wants to let a holiday pass uncelebrated, but it is important to celebrate in a safe way. Plan ahead to make sure you and your family can both have fun and stay healthy.

Happy Halloween!