The Centers for Disease Control has shared its list of Halloween activities for families to enjoy while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Activities fall under categories of low-, moderate-, and high-risk. Trick-or-treating is included in the high-risk category, but the CDC suggests an alternative way to go house-to-house that reduces it to a moderate-risk activity—one-way trick-or-treating.
The following low-risk activities are recommended by the CDC:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
Moderate-risk activities include:
- 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)
- 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
- 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
High-risk activities that should be avoided include:
- 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
The complete list of low-, moderate-, and high-risk activities may be found online at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.
In York County, those who choose to trick-or-treat are asked to do so from 6-8 p.m. Recommended ages are 12 and under.
York County Fire Chief Stephen P. Kopczynski and York-Poquoson Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs offer these additional safety measures for individuals participating in trick-or-treat:
- Incorporate a cloth facemask into your child’s costume and consider wearing protective gloves to finish the look. A Halloween mask is not a suitable alternative to a cloth facemask.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you and use often
- Do not allow children to take candy directly from neighbors and stay six feet away from others not in your family group.
- Residents are asked to turn on porch lights to identify homes that wish to receive trick-or-treaters. Please avoid houses where porch lights are off.
- Remind children to be careful, watch for traffic, and to use flashlights.
- Make sure costumes and shoes fit properly to avoid tripping hazards.
- Purchase Halloween costumes (including wigs, capes and props) that feature a “flame-resistant” or “flame-retardant” label.
- Consider wearing bright and/or light-colored costumes, which are easier to see at night.
- Carry a flashlight or light-stick, and attach “glow-in-the-dark” items or reflective tape to the front and back of children’s costumes. Make sure your trick-or-treater can see and be seen.
- Have an adult accompany younger children.
For more on Halloween Safety, call Fire & Life Safety at (757) 890-3600 or the Sheriff’s Office at (757) 890-3630.