Trick or Treat? Here Are the CDC’s New Halloween Guidelines
As all of us realize, 2020 has been a particularly harsh year. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been responsibly social distancing and wearing masks. But now it is nearly Halloween. When there’s a pandemic, how are we supposed to handle a holiday dedicated to socializing with strangers? To answer this, here are the CDC’s New Halloween Guidelines. These will help you to navigate health and safety precautions that will keep you and others safe.
Candy and COVID: Understanding the CDC’s New Halloween Guidelines
Halloween is an absolute favorite holiday for children. There’s plenty of free candy, time for mischief and a chance to dress up as their favorite characters. It is always a lot of fun, but concerns about the virus have parents worried. To help, the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued specific new guidelines for Halloween safety in the time of COVID-19.
Some Activities Are Riskier Than Others
One of the big takeaways from the CDC’s new Halloween guidelines shouldn’t be shocking. Indoor parties, large gatherings and trick-or-treating are not recommended. This goes for both children and adults alike. Just because you and your friends are too old to trick-or-treat doesn’t mean that boozy adult parties are any less dangerous. Besides, according to the CDC, alcohol and drug use "can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors." Instead, it’s better to abstain from big celebrations or close contact with other people.
Another major no-no comes from events like haunted houses and hayrides. Though these activities are classic seasonal experiences, the CDC’s new Halloween guidelines warn that these can help to spread the virus. This is especially true if people are going to be screaming. Wearing masks can help, but screaming and crowding can increase the possibility of spreading the virus.
Above all, the overall goal is to mitigate risk. Going door-to-door to every house while trick-or-treating is, unfortunately, a great way to spread infection from one house to an entire neighborhood.
Okay, so… unfortunately, this news is probably a major bummer to a lot of would-be Halloween revelers. On the plus side, this doesn’t mean that the holiday is cancelled. The CDC's new Halloween guidelines list some low and moderate risk activities that you can consider instead of the usual traditions. For example, instead of going door-to-door in groups, kids should practice social distancing by staying six feet apart at all times. Homeowners and parents, in an effort to keep kids safe, can consider wrapping gifts and leaving them at the bottom of the driveway. This will prevent kids from crowding at the door. Alternately, parents and neighborhoods can organize small outdoor costume parades. As long as everyone stays six feet apart and wears masks, this is a much safer option.
Naturally, a costume mask is not the same thing as a proper safety mask. That said, parents should not double up a costume mask with a cloth COVID-19 safety mask. This can make it tough for little ones to breathe. Instead, choose a costume with a cloth costume mask. It should include two or more layers of breathable fabric covering the nose and mouth, without gaps around the face.
Safe Pumpkin Picking
Finally, a lot of fall traditions include apple or pumpkin picking. Once again, it is important to maintain social distancing rules. Everyone who is participating should stay six feet apart and wear masks. To further reduce risks, according to the CDC’s new Halloween guidelines, hand sanitizer can help. Before and after picking, be sure to wash up. This will help to keep everyone safe.
To see the full list of guidelines, click here to visit the CDC’s official website. Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!