How to Stay Safe on Halloween 2020
Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Halloween is a holiday celebrated and cherished by many. The thrills of costume designing, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating bring joy to people of all ages. Adults often celebrate with costume parties, decorated amusement parks, and Halloween themed events such as haunted houses or spooky music festivals. This Halloween, we are tasked with keeping the fun alive but also keeping our communities safe. Although themed amusement parks may be closed and parties are dangerous, we can keep the spooky spirit going. Halloween traditions will look different this year but there are plenty of ways to celebrate while avoiding contracting or spreading COVID-19.
Updated Thursday, October 29
As a news source, we have a responsibility to update our content with new important information as it arises.
Yesterday, CNN published the article Stay inside this Halloween with your household, doctors say, containing important information from medical professionals. Three professors from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine shared written statements with CNN highlighting their concerns with any public Halloween celebrations. In summary, these medical professionals advise everyone to stay inside their household and celebrate only with their household members. This means no trick-or-treating. Having a scavenger hunt for candy around your house is the safest alternative to trick-or-treating.
Here are some highlights from the article:
When explaining why trick-or-treating is a high-risk activity, Dr. Sadiya Khan, a physician, epidemiologist, and assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said “I'd be worried for potential spread from any contact with people outside your household."
Only "one in four families said they are still going to give out candy this year”
"It's essential to follow the three W's: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands."
This Halloween tradition will need minimal modification at most. If you usually carve pumpkins with those in your household, you can carry on carving as always. If you usually decorate your pumpkins with friends, make sure to wear your mask and remain 6 feet apart or consider decorating with your household this year.
Spooky movie night
Family or roommate movie night is a great spooky tradition. This year is the perfect year to opt for staying home and watching spooky films. If you want to get extra festive, dress up as your favorite character from your movie choice or make Halloween themed refreshments. Consider suggesting a group video-chat movie viewing to friends or children who are upset by canceled party plans. Social butterflies can still get their Halloween social-time in with video-chatting! A moderate-risk alternative is to have an outdoor movie night with local friends spaced 6 feet apart. The CDC advises greater distancing if screaming will occur.
Every year Food Network airs a new season of Halloween Wars, a Halloween themed baking competition. Outrageous Pumpkins is another Halloween themed show on Food Network starring expert pumpkin carvers competing to make the best pumpkin sculptures. Pinterest is full of great Halloween themed treats and crafts. Turn on a Halloween baking show and get into the kitchen to make your own spooky treats.
Trick-or-treating is discouraged this year. If you are not participating in trick-or-treating as an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, a family scavenger hunt for treats in your home or yard is a great alternative. If you are trick-or-treating, please take the necessary precautions. In public during the COVID-19 pandemic, always avoid large groups, wear your cloth mask, social distance, and sanitize your hands frequently. While trick-or-treating avoid large clusters and remain 6 feet away from other people who are not from your household.
If you are handing out treats consider the following alternatives to classic trick-or-treating:
1. Package individual treat bags and line them up for children to take at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard to make social distancing easier
2. Use a pick-up tool or clean trash picker to hand over candy without using hands. This will also help you maintain social distancing.
Wash your hands before handling the treats and wear a mask while you hand out treats. If possible, create a way to avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
As stated previously, this year, traditional trick-or-treating is discouraged by medical professionals.
Virtual costume contest
Having a virtual costume contest is the safest way to have a costume party this Halloween. A small group (less than 10 people) outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart is a moderate risk activity. Another moderate-risk activity is a costume party held outdoors where people can remain 6 feet apart and wear protective masks the entire time. In order for these to be moderate risk activities, the parties must be outdoors and attendees must remain more than 6 feet apart while keeping their protective masks on. With all precautions taken, these are still moderate risk activities. This is why virtual costume parties are the best type of party to attend this Halloween.
Pumpkin patches, orchards, or corn mazes
Pumpkin patches and orchards involve a lot of touching. As we have outlined in previous blogs, you must sanitize your hands frequently when touching potentially germy surfaces in public. While in public, always use hand sanitizer before touching your face or another person. Wear your mask and remain 6 feet away from people you do not live with. Before and after you touch pumpkins or pick apples, sanitize or wash your hands. If you are visiting a corn maze, find one that is a one-way walk-through and make sure protective procedures are taking place.
Keeping your community safe
The CDC warns If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.