This year, Halloween will look different due to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Events that involve large gatherings of individuals (e.g. large Halloween parties, haunted houses, etc) can increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and are not recommended. The more closely people interact with others and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus. This means choosing not to participate in standard Halloween activities during the pandemic. Below are some safe, alternative ways to participate in Halloween.
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*Only prepare goodie bags if you are COVID-19 negative. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags. Hand sanitizer should be used when soap and water is not available.
Trick-or-treating involves increased risk for transmitting COVID-19, due to the potential for close proximity to many people and the difficulty for children trick-or-treaters to follow mask use and social distancing recommendations. If you do choose to trick-or-treat, it is important to protect yourself using the following recommendations:
1. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past ten days, or have been in contact with someone with COVID in the past 14 days, follow VDH guidance to stay home and away from others. If you are self-isolating or self-quarantining, do not participate in trick-or-treating this year, and look for other virtual options to celebrate.
2. Maintain at least six six feet of distance between yourself and others who do not live in your household at all times.
3. Wash your hands before going trick-or-treating or handing out candy. Hand sanitizer should be used while trick-or-treating or handing out candy when soap and water are not available.
4. Wear a cloth mask. Halloween masks may not fit snugly against the face and may not cover the nose and mouth. Halloween masks with gaps and holes do not protect against inhaling respiratory droplets from other people. Cloth masks should be worn under costume masks to keep a close fit over your nose and mouth. Ensure that any cloth mask worn under a costume mask does not inhibit the ability to breathe easily.
5. If you hand out candy, consider setting up an area outside, like a folding table or chairs, to setout candy. Space out the placement of treats so that multiple people do not have to reach into the same bowl or find contactless ways to deliver treats, like a candy chute that is more than six feet long. For trunk-or-treating, create distance between cars by parking in every other space.
For additional recommendations, visit the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) website or Virginia Department of Health Guidance for Halloween Events.