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September 22, 2020

CDC Releases Guidelines on Halloween: Trick-or-Treating High Risk

By Laura Byrne

The Centers for Disease Control has finally released its guidelines for Halloween and it’s not great news…but, it’s 2020 so are we really that surprised?

But, it’s not all bad news and no, Halloween is NOT cancelled.

Speaking of bad news, let’s lead with it to get it over with…

(Don’t hate the messenger) The CDC says traditional trick-or-treating door to door and trunk or treats where candy is handed out in large parking lots are both considered high risk activities for potentially catching and spreading COVID-19. Again, probably not a big surprise, but still a big bummer to read officially.

Other activities deemed high risk according to CDC:

  • Attending crowded costume parties indoors.
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people not in your household.
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID.
  • Using alcohol or drugs which could cloud your judgement.

Now that we’ve gotten the not so great news over with, let’s talk about the lower risk activities that can still be just as fun…because we’re always searching for that silver lining…

Lower risk Halloween activities according to the CDC:

  • 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

You can read more about the CDC’s Halloween recommendations here and see what moderate risk activities made the list.

A few activities that made the moderate risk list include outdoor costume parades and visiting a pumpkin patch where others may be touching surfaces you come in contact with, so be sure to bring plenty of hand sanitizer if you go and wear a face mask if social distancing isn’t possible. Most of the Tampa Bay Area pumpkin patches and corn mazes are taking extra precautions like limiting the number of guests and modifying activities.

If you’ve been dreaming up ideas for a Halloween event with friends and neighbors, the CDC’s latest guidelines say that’s okay if you can host it outdoors and limit the number of people who attend. It’s also best to keep the small list of people you invite to people who live within your community. This recommendation totally makes sense to help reduce the risk of bringing the virus into your close community or spreading it to others. Masks and extra hand sanitizer are also recommended.

We know this is all less than ideal, but there are alternatives out there, so let’s try to collectively look on the bright side so we can get to the other end of this crazy year healthier and happier. We just need to get creative!

We’ve love the idea of hosting a mask making contest outside or even virtually–who can transform their dull cloth face mask into something amazing! A front door decorating contest for a neighborhood stroll is also a fun idea we’ve seen floating around.

Whatever you decide, be safe and enjoy the holiday. This season in our lives will be over soon enough.





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