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Halloween and COVID-19: Safety tips and celebration tricks

Last Modified: 10/29/2020


With numerous fall festivities on the horizon and the unexpected events of 2020, it’s not hard to imagine how different the holidays may look this year. While these unprecedented times may present many challenges, they also provide us with an opportunity to get creative and even invent some new family traditions. To help get the wheels turning, we asked Anna Belote, director, Safety, Parkview Health, to share some simple tips for staying safe this Halloween and the many ways you can celebrate in safe, enjoyable and unexpected ways.

Is it safe to celebrate Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many traditional Halloween activities that we know and love could be high-risk for spreading viruses. Instead, get creative to find safer, alternate ways to participate in Halloween. A few low-risk alternatives could include:

  • Carve or decorate pumpkins with members of your household, then display them
  • Carve or decorate pumpkins outside, at a safe distance with neighbors or friends
  • Decorate your house, apartment or living space with fun and spooky Halloween decor
  • Do a Halloween scavenger hunt with a list of Halloween-themed things to look for while walking outdoors, admiring Halloween decorations from a distance
  • Have a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Have a Halloween movie night with the people you live with
  • Trick-or-treat with the members of your household around your home rather than going house-to-house

If you are unsure of what activities are considered low, moderate or high-risk, please visit the CDC website to clarify which activities and situations you should avoid during the pandemic.

Additionally, if you or a loved one have COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is recommended that you not participate in any in-person Halloween festivities or give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Should people wear masks with Halloween costumes this year?

The CDC recommends wearing a mask if you will be around anyone who doesn’t live in your household, which will also help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. While this year’s Halloween may look a little different, here are a few things to consider when safely incorporating a face-covering into your frightful festivities this year:

  • Make your cloth mask a part of your costume or consider using a Halloween-themed mask.
  • Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult.
  • Masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing.
What other steps can families take to celebrate Halloween safely?

Staying safe while celebrating this season may seem daunting, but you only need to keep doing what you’ve been doing. In addition to wearing a mask, continue incorporating these precautions when celebrating:

  • Social distancing: Stay at least 6 feet away and practice proper social distancing from others who do not live in your household. Remember, whether you are indoors or outdoors, you are more likely to contract or spread COVID-19 when in close contact with others for long periods.
  • Keep your hands clean: Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home before eating any treats. Bringing hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol and using it after touching objects or other people is also a good idea when celebrating.
  • Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect: Try to limit contact with high-touch surfaces or shared items. If this isn’t possible, be sure to clean and disinfect those commonly touched surfaces as often as possible. You could also use touchless garbage cans if available and use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash.
More ideas

Do you still need a little help unleashing your spooking inspiration? Try this Halloween 2020 site. It invites the user to filter by state and county to determine whether they are in the green, yellow, orange or red zone for COVID-19 risk. Based on your zone color, the site then provides you with several safe, fun, family-friendly alternatives (grown-up options included) to trick-or-treating this year.

Helpful resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Allen County Department of Health

Halloween 2020

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