Halloween is almost here, which means families everywhere are thinking about pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating. And, fortunately this year, with the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12 and older, it looks like many of the seasonal activities we missed out on last year are happening once again. While this is exciting news, families still need to be cautious this Halloween, especially if they have children under 12 years old.

Is it safe to go trick-or-treating this year?

Yes! It is safe to go trick-or-treating this year, as long as it’s outside and in small groups. To ensure everyone is safe:

  • Make sure everyone who is eligible has gotten the COVID‑19 vaccine.
  • Trick-or-treat with members of the same household or in a small group.
  • Wear a mask if you will be going indoors in public or if you are in a crowded setting outdoors. Please be aware that a costume mask is not a substitute for a protective cloth mask.
  • Avoid crowded spaces and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet between others.
  • If giving out candy, offer treat items that are individually wrapped and placed on a table outside your house. Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Wash or sanitize hands before eating candy.

Safe versus unsafe Halloween activities

What about activities other than trick-or-treating, such as hayrides and parties? Here’s where it gets complicated. When determining which activities your family can participate in this year, consider:

  • What is the COVID-19 infection rate in your area?
  • Does the event draw people from nearby areas with higher infection rates?
  • Does the event allow you to remain physically distant (6 feet away from others)?
  • Will all participants be wearing face masks?

It’s best to stick to activities that allow you to stay outdoors and socially distance, like trips to a pumpkin patch, a walk through a corn maze or neighborhood trick-or-treating. These activities are much safer than indoor parties or crowded haunted houses. Other safe activities include:

  • Making Halloween-themed snacks with the family.
  • Making homemade Halloween greeting cards for neighbors and family members.
  • Watching Halloween-themed movies or episodes of TV shows.
  • A socially distanced (outdoor with masks) pumpkin carving party for a small group.
  • Decorating the yard/house in the days leading up to Halloween.
  • Making signs or chalk drawings for neighbors to enjoy.
  • Socially distanced pumpkin or apple picking.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) discourages activities where you cannot remain socially distant. This includes:

  • Trick-or-treating with large groups of people.
  • Trunk-or-treat events in densely packed parking lots.
  • Indoor costume parties and haunted houses, unless participants remain masked.
  • Hayrides and tractor rides with people not from your household.
  • Attending fall festivals that draw large crowds.

Use the graphic below from debeaumont.org to help identify activities that are safe (celebrating at home), less safe (careful trick-or-treating) and unsafe (big crowds). And have a great Halloween!

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