CDC Guidelines Warn Against Traditional Halloween Activities Amid COVID-19

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With Halloween quickly approaching, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a set of guidelines that discourage partaking in traditional holiday activities considered a high-risk for spreading COVID-19.

With the coronavirus still widespread throughout the country, the CDC’s guidelines group Halloween activities into lower-risk, moderate-risk and higher-risk categories. The health institute recommends avoiding activities, such as door-to-door trick-or-treating, indoor costume parties, trunk-or-treat events, and indoor haunted houses.

Other high-risk activities include: Hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household, using alcohol or drugs that could impair your judgment, and traveling to rural fall festivals outside of your community if you live in an area with a high percentage of COVID-19 cases.

Some safer but still moderately risky activities include one-way trick-or-treating, where individually wrapped bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance. The CDC recommends leaving these goodie bags at the end of the driveway or at the edge of a yard. Those preparing such bags must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, the guidelines state.

Having an outdoor parade where people are distanced more than 6-feet apart, attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people remain distanced, attending an outdoor, one-way walk-through haunted forest where guidelines are adhered to are also considered a moderate risk.

If attending an outdoor haunted house where screaming is likely, greater distance between attendees is advised, according to the CDC.

Other moderate-risk activities can include, hosting a socially distanced outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends and visiting a pumpkin patch or orchard where health guidelines are followed and sanitizer is used before and after touching pumpkins or picking apples.

While costumes are a staple for Halloween, the CDC states a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth face covering. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face, according to the CDC.

Furthermore, with the ability to breathe a concern, costume masks should not be worn over a protective covering.

While discouraged from engaging in typical Halloween festivities, the CDC offered a list of safe alternatives. Lower-risk activities include:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

If you may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, the CDC urges to avoid participating in any in-person Halloween festivities or giving out candy to trick-or-treaters.

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