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September 27, 2020

Traditional trick-or-treating should be avoided this Halloween to mitigate spread of COVID-19, CDC says

Indoor costume parties and haunted houses have also been deemed high-risk activities

Health News Coronavirus
halloween cdc trick or treating Haley Phelps/via Unsplash

One-way trick-or-treating with individually-wrapped goodie bags to grab and go should be utilized instead of traditional trick-or-treating this Halloween due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC said.

If one has contracted COVID-19 or been exposed to someone with the virus, he or she should not partake in any in-person Halloween festivities this fall.

That’s according to guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to safely celebrate Halloween amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The national public health institute classified Halloween activities as either low, moderate, or high risk for transmission of the virus.

High-risk activities should be avoided to slow the spread of COVID-19. Those include traditional trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, indoor costume parties, indoor haunted houses, hayrides, and tractor rides.

Costume masks should not serve as a substitute for a cloth mask. Costume masks should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose. Costume masks should not be worn over protective cloth masks because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Halloween-themed cloth masks are strongly encouraged.

The following activities have been deemed medium-risk by the CDC, as long as participants wear face coverings and practice social distancing: 

• One-way trick-or-treating where individually-wrapped goodie bags are lined up for participants to grab and go
• Open-air, outdoor costume parades with a small group of people
• Outdoor costume parties
• Open-air, one-way walking haunted trailers.
• Visiting pumpkin patches or apple orchards where people use hand sanitizer before picking pumpkins and apples
• Outdoor Halloween movie showings with others

Some Halloween activities have been deemed lower-risk in terms of potential transmission of the virus. Those activities include carving and decorating pumpkins outside with members of one’s household or with neighbors and friends at a safe distance, decorating one’s house or apartment, a socially-distanced Halloween scavenger hunt outdoors or one indoors with household members, virtual Halloween costume contests, and Halloween movie nights with members of one’s household.

The guidelines issued are meant to supplement, rather than replace, state or local health and safety regulations, the CDC said. People are encouraged to assess the current COVID-19 levels in one’s community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees for a Halloween celebration.

Local officials have not indicated yet whether Halloween activities will be allowed to proceed as normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic next month.

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