Navigating Halloween Activities, Trick-or-Treating During Coronavirus Pandemic
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to stock up on candy and other goodies to hand out to eager children showing off their latest spooky Halloween costumes.
…or is it?
This Halloween season is different due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many to wonder if it’s safe or responsible to engage in or to encourage trick-or-treating at all. While fatalities due to the virus are down across the state, total cases and hospitalizations were recently on the rise, calling Halloween festivities into question.
Trick-or-treating is, of course, a hands-on, multi-person activity — exactly the type of thing we want to steer away from during the pandemic. A few weeks ago, on Sept. 25, Austin Public Health endorsed the CDC’s holiday guidelines, marking trick-or-treating as a “higher risk” activity.
Along with trick-or-treating, the CDC included the following activities in that same category:
- Trunk-or-treat events (where treats are handed out from cars in large parking lots rather than door-to-door)
- Crowded indoor costume parties
- Indoor haunted houses with crowds and screaming
- Hayrides and tractor rides
- Using alcohol and drugs, which can “cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors”
- Traveling to a festival outside of your community
That said, by the time we get to Oct. 31 in two weeks, things may be a little more lenient (we hope?!) While you should stay tuned and up-to-date with the latest guidelines, we should also prepare for the worst in case trick-or-treating is highly discouraged.
Right now, that could well be the case, so what can we do instead?
Thankfully, the CDC saw this one coming and is here to help. They also listed low- and moderate-risk Halloween activities on their site, including:
- Carving/decorating pumpkins at a safe distance with friends or neighbors
- Arranging a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt
- Halloween movie night with members of your household
- Virtual costume contest with friends/family via Zoom or similar video-chat service
- Small, open-air, socially distanced and masked costume parade
- Visiting pumpkin patches/outdoor fall venues with a mask while remaining socially distant
Side note: What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!
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