How to Celebrate Halloween During COVID-19
Halloween is the highlight of the fall season and one of the most popular holidays of the year. From spooky decorations and costume parties to school celebrations and trick-or-treating, children and adults alike look forward to Halloween all year long.
COVID-19 continues to challenge the traditional ways that we celebrate. While Halloween holiday safety is always a priority, the COVID-19 pandemic has given us a new set of obstacles.
Below, we’re breaking down what parents need to know specifically about trick-or-treating safety as well as the safest way to celebrate Halloween this year.
As an outdoor activity, trick-or-treating is safer than other indoor holiday activities. The CDC recommends the following steps to make it even safer:
- When giving out treats, avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
- Always hand out treats outside.
- Set up a station with individually wrapped candies or goodie bags for families to grab and take to go while adhering to social distancing.
- Treats can be placed at the end of the driveway or on a card table at the edge of the yard and replenished between visits.
- Wear a mask and wash your hands before handling treats.
- Masks that cover the nose and mouth – not just costume masks - are a must for anyone over the age of 2.
If you plan to trick-or-treat safely and your community has cleared this activity, the first step will be to determine the people in your Halloween group. Limit the size of your group of trick-or-treaters. Check that adults and children over the age of 12 in the group are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
If COVID-19 infection levels are high in your area, consider sitting this year out. According to the CDC, “Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees.” New Orleans residents can track the latest updates related to COVID-19 and community spread here.
But even without trick-or-treating, there are plenty of ways to have fun at home.
Low-Risk Halloween Activities
The CDC is promoting the following Halloween activities as lower risk for spreading COVID-19. As an alternative to moderate or high-risk gatherings and attractions, you should consider:
- Pumpkin carving with your immediate household or outside at a safe distance more than 6 feet apart with neighbors and friends. These preschool pumpkin craft ideas are a safer alternative to full-fledged pumpkin carving if you have little ones.
- Setting up a Halloween scavenger hunt in your neighborhood where your family can scout for various decorations at a safe distance from the street.
- A candy scavenger hunt in your home and yard is another fun way to stay safe while celebrating.
- Host a virtual Halloween costume party with friends and family complete with costume competitions and prizes.
- Organize a scary movie film festival or movie night with your immediate household, with plenty of festive snacks and beverages.
Halloween Costume Parties, Haunted Houses and COVID-19
As a popular tourist destination and region which prides itself on creative costuming, Halloween is a big deal in Louisiana. We’re used to gathering in large groups for elaborate costume parties, parades, fall music festivals, haunted houses and other frightful attractions.
While many local Halloween celebrations, including the Krewe of Boo parade in New Orleans are back this year, it is still important to celebrate in a way that minimizes the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19. The CDC has classified indoor haunted houses, crowded indoor costume parties and traveling to rural fall festivals outside of your community in the highest-risk tier of activities. Similar to singing, screaming releases particles, which can contain COVID-19, into the air. And unfortunately, dim, crowded and poorly ventilated environments often double as the perfect settings for a frightening haunted house.
This year, we encourage you to avoid indoor activities and environments where people may be crowded together and screaming. If you do visit a haunted attraction, plan on adhering to all local and regional guidelines while exercising social distancing and wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.
Adult Halloween parties and activities often involve costumes and alcohol consumption, making partygoers less careful about social distancing. Planning to host a get-together at home? Pay attention to any local restrictions on the number of attendees and hold the party outdoors if possible. Indoor spaces should be as ventilated as conditions allow, with opened windows, doors and to facilitate airflow throughout the room. Space tables and chairs out in order to allow for social distancing and keep masks on when indoors or less than 6 feet apart.
Halloween Masks and COVID-19
A Halloween costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask, unless it is constructed of two or more breathable fabric layers, closes gaps around the face and covers the mouth and nose. Experts suggest subbing your regular or surgical mask for a festive Halloween themed cloth mask that will keep you safe while adding a touch of Halloween spirit.
COVID-19 is scary enough as it is, so we encourage everyone to be extra safe this year while celebrating. Happy Halloween!
Sources: The Centers for Disease Control Holiday Celebrations Guidelines (Issued Sept. 12, 2020)
The information in this blog post is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to change, it's possible that information has changed since being published. While Ochsner Health is trying to keep our blog posts as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using the CDC website.
For the Latest Updates from Ochsner on COVID-19, visit Ochsner.org/coronavirus