Halloween celebrations in 2020, like most social activities, will look a lot different thanks to pandemic precautions.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has released guidelines for all of the fall holidays, including Halloween.
"Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses," according to the CDC.
On the CDC's website, Halloween activities are ranked from high-risk to low-risk for spreading COVID-19.
Traditional trick-or-treating is listed under the higher risk activities category, along with holding or attending crowded costume parties, going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household and using alcohol or drugs.
Activities like carving pumpkins with members of your household, decorating your living space and having virtual Halloween costume contests are all lower risk activities, per the CDC.
Here's a breakdown of activities and their risk category, according to the CDC:
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
- Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
- Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
- Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
- Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
- Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
- Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19
- Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard). If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
- Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
- Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
- A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
- Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart. If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
- Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart. If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
- 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
If you do decide to go trick-or-treating or participate in other social Halloween events, the CDC asks that you wear a mask, practice social distancing when possible and consider getting tested for COVID-19 afterwards. They also urge anyone who's been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 to not participate in any social activities during the Halloween season.
For more information from the CDC on celebrating fall holidays, visit their website here.