How to safely celebrate Halloween during a pandemic

October 05, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

You never fully appreciate something until you can’t have it.

That could be the theme for 2020. And when you think of all the things people avoided through the summer — sitting towel-to-towel on a sunny beach, vacations, concerts, visiting extended family — it seems unfair to now have to avoid the usual fun of Halloween.

But with the virus that causes COVID-19 circulating, it’s just not safe to crowd into a cramped haunted house and scream your head off.

The same is true for big indoor parties — basically anyplace large groups of people will be spending time indoors talking, laughing and shouting isn’t safe during the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidelines for safe holiday celebrations, and listed these Halloween activities as higher-risk for spreading viruses:

  • 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 are coming from an area with community spread of COVID-19

But all is not lost. There are ways to do fun Halloween things (including trick-or-treating) in a safe way:

  • Have a Halloween party at home. Decorate to the hilt and let kids stay up to watch a Halloween movie with some special treats.
  • Carve pumpkins. Roast the seeds, too.
  • Try alternatives to trick-or-treating, such as a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt, hanging packages of candy on a tree or fence to be “picked,” or setting up a table in the front yard laden with individual cups filled with candy for trick-or-treaters to take.
  • Participate in an outdoor Halloween parade and show off your costume.
  • “Boo” someone! Leave a bag of treats or a pumpkin on a friend’s doorstep after dark, ring the bell and run.
  • Set up a Halloween scavenger hunt in and around your house for the people in your household.

If you choose to attend a party or take the kids trick-or-treating, remember these important safety guidelines:

  • Maintain physical distance from people you don’t live with.
  • Don’t substitute a costume mask for a cloth mask. Unless your costume mask is made of two or more layers of fabric and fits snugly around your mouth and nose, wear a cloth mask instead. Don’t wear a cloth mask under a costume mask, as this may make it hard to breathe.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water isn’t available, use hand sanitizer.
  • If you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person activities or hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.
  • Remember that outdoor celebrations are safer than indoor, particularly enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces.

Need a doctor? We have hundreds of board-certified physicians to choose from. You can schedule book your next appointment online today.

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, your safety and well-being continue to remain our top priority. When you visit us, you will find consistent safety measures in place. Learn more about our Safety Commitment.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check

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