In order to properly protect yourself during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has released safety guidelines that detail how to celebrate Halloween without putting yourself or others at risk.
As a start, the CDC recommends that anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has possibly been exposed to someone with COVID-19 refrain from taking part in in-person events this year.
“You should not participate in in-person festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters [if you’re sick or have been exposed],” the CDC states on their website.
From there, the CDC has divided up Halloween festivities into three groups: lower risk activities, moderate risk activities, and higher risk activities.
Lower risk activities primarily take place in your own home or on a virtual video chat. These activities can include carving or decorating pumpkins (either with members of your household or with neighbors and friends at a distance), decorating your living space, having virtual costume contests, or having virtual movie nights.
“These lower risk activities are the [safest] alternatives to the [usual festivities],” the CDC stated.
Meanwhile, the category titled “moderate risk activities” primarily focuses on events like trick-or-treating, Halloween parties and haunted house walkthroughs.
The CDC recommends that homes participate in what they call “one-way” trick-or-treating, in which households prepare individually wrapped goodie bags and leave these treats at the end of a driveway or the edge of a yard to be picked up by families without interaction. Prior to assembling these goodie bags, an individual must be certain to wash their hands as well.
When it comes to in-person costume parties, the CDC strongly suggests that these events be held outdoors if at all possible, in order to allow guests to maintain a 6-foot distance from one another at all times. In addition, all attendees should be wearing protective masks, but the CDC stresses that costume masks are not always an acceptable alternative.
“A costume mask should not be used [as a protective mask] unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that cover the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face,” the CDC stated.
As for haunted houses, the CDC advises that you only attend “open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forests,” as these locations are not as highly confined and congested as indoor attractions. Mask use must be enforced at these haunted forests, and social distancing should still be maintained whenever possible.
Halloween festivities that the CDC has designated as “higher risk activities” should be avoided at all costs. These festivities include traditional trick-or-treating (when treats are handed to children who go door to door), indoor costume parties, and indoor haunted houses.
Finally, the CDC urges individuals to not attend fall festivals that aren’t located in your immediate community, as these festivals can quickly become “super-spreader” events with a mass congregation of diverse bodies from differing environments.