Halloween and COVID-19

Halloween and COVID-19 | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Any other year, Halloween would be a time for parties, paying visits to haunted houses, and going trick-or-treating with your friends. However, with Halloween just a few weeks away and COVID-19 still in our midst, many people are wondering exactly how they’re going to be able to safely go about navigating it without putting their health – or the health of others – at risk – and below you will find some helpful guidelines set out by the CDC.

Halloween Parties

First and foremost, you should skip attending a large Halloween party if you’re invited to one. Big indoor gatherings such as these are not recommended (and are actually prohibited f safe social distancing measures cannot be met) and can be a breeding ground for germs, including the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, you may not be familiar with everyone who is in attendance and whether or not they have the virus or have recently been exposed to it, thus putting yourself and others at risk. If you do want to attend or host a Halloween party, make sure you keep it within your small household bubble in addition to your “safe six”, and do not allow anyone to bring any plus ones/people you don’t know.

As the weather is changing, it’s usually cooler on Halloween night, but if at all possible then it’s suggested you spend more time outdoors than in – as being indoors generally poses a higher risk when it comes to the spread of COVID-19. If you are going to be inside, then you should keep the area you’re in well-ventilated (i.e. by opening windows.) You should also avoid passing around or sharing drinks and snacks, and avoiding using things like smoke machines, as these may induce coughing – and, as you know, coughing is one way the virus can spread (via respiratory droplets.)

Trick-or-Treating

When going trick-or-treating, you should avoid going to busy areas and instead stick to your local neighbourhood. Also be mindful that not every household will be giving out candy – so be respectful by not knocking on doors if the lights are out. If you’re going to be trick-or-treating in a group, that group should be no greater than 6 people and you should also leave enough space between you when walking to help reduce crowding. You should also be wearing a non-medical grade face mask; however, you should not wear a costume mask over top of a non-medical grade face mask as this might make it difficult for you to breathe.

Because you’ll be handling things that others have touched when trick-or-treating (i.e. stair railings) and may want to snack on some Halloween candy as you’re out and about, it’s also a good idea to carry around hand sanitizer with you, and make sure you wash your hands as soon as you’re back home.

Handing Out Candy

If you’re not going to be trick-or-treating but do plan on handing out candy this year and you’re still worried about coming into contact with others, there are still some safe ways you can go about this. When answering your door to give out treats, wear a non-medical grade mask. When handing out treats, avoid allowing everyone to reach into one shared bowl. Instead, it’s recommended that you either use tongs to hand out treats to avoid physical contact, or have single, pre-packaged treats ready to go. At the end of the night, it’s also recommended that you disinfect high-touch surface areas such as railings, doors, doorbells, and doorknobs.

Other Alternatives

If you’re going to all together skip handing out candy and taking the kids trick-or-treating this year, there are some other fun Halloween-themed activities you can still do with the family – such as pumpkin carving, setting up a backyard Halloween scavenger hunt, holding a Halloween costume contest, or having a Halloween movie night.