How to Celebrate Halloween During COVID-19 and Flu Season
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.
Widely spreading respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and the flu continue to challenge the traditional ways that we celebrate. While Halloween holiday safety is always a priority, keeping our kids healthy 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.
Trick-or-Treating, COVID-19 and the flu
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
- 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.
- Always wash your hands before handling treats.
- Stay home if you’re sick. Skip trick or treating and Halloween parties if you aren’t feeling well.
- Get tested if you have COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms – cough, sneeze, runny nose, sore throat.
If you plan to trick-or-treat safely, 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 eligible adults and children are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received their flu shot.
While COVID-19 community transmission is currently low, the region is experiencing an early and above average flu season. Flu and other respiratory viruses like RSV are circulating widely.
If an illness cancels trick-or-treating this year, there are plenty of ways to have fun at home.
Low-Risk Halloween Activities
- Pumpkin carving with your immediate household These preschool pumpkin craft ideas are a safer alternative to full-fledged pumpkin carving if you have little ones.
- 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 and the Flu
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. It is still important to celebrate in a way that minimizes the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19 or the flu. Take precautions in crowded or indoor events as informed by your county’s COVID-19 Community Level, like wearing a high-quality mask (and Halloween masks don’t count). Consider making the mask part of the costume—like a doctor, nurse, ninja, or cowboy. Indoor spaces should be as ventilated as conditions allow, with opened windows, doors and to facilitate airflow throughout the room.
COVID-19 and the flu are 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 (Oct. 2022)
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.
Schedule your flu shot today. Learn more at ochsner.org/flu.