Halloween in a Global Health Pandemic: What You Should Know

Learn how to stay safe dur­ing this year’s spooky season’

From bob­bing for apples and shar­ing can­dy to attend­ing cos­tume con­tests, tra­di­tion­al Hal­loween will cer­tain­ty look quite dif­fer­ent, espe­cial­ly for your child. While these are fun and fes­tive Hal­loween activ­i­ties, they can also spread germs and increase your risk of poten­tial coro­n­avirus expo­sure. This year, we’ll have to approach the hol­i­day dif­fer­ent­ly and be extra mind­ful of wash­ing our hands, wear­ing masks and social dis­tanc­ing. How­ev­er, you and your fam­i­ly can still find cre­ative ways to cel­e­brate Hal­loween while at home.

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion recent­ly released their guide­lines for cel­e­brat­ing Hal­loween safe­ly. Their rec­om­men­da­tions are out­lined into low­er, mod­er­ate and high­er-risk cat­e­gories and pro­vide alter­na­tive options to tra­di­tion­al Hal­loween fes­tiv­i­ties. Check out their insights below: 

Low-Risk Hal­loween Activities 

  • Pump­kin carv­ing, dec­o­rat­ing or watch­ing Hal­loween-themed movies at home with loved ones 
  • Cre­at­ing a Hal­loween scav­enger hunt in your home instead of tra­di­tion­al trick-or-treating 
  • Hold­ing a vir­tu­al cos­tume contest 

Mod­er­ate-Risk Hal­loween Activities 

  • Lin­ing up indi­vid­u­al­ly wrapped treat bags at the end of your dri­ve­way or yard for trick-or-treaters 
  • Host­ing a small out­door cos­tume parade in com­pli­ance with Illi­nois’ social dis­tanc­ing, mask-wear­ing and safe­ty guidelines
  • Vis­it­ing a pump­kin patch, orchard, or open for­est where masks and social dis­tanc­ing are advised

High-Risk Hal­loween Activities 

  • Par­tic­i­pat­ing in tra­di­tion­al trick-or-treat­ing, includ­ing trunk-or-treats” via trunks of cars
  • Attend­ing crowd­ed, indoor cos­tume parties 
  • Vis­it­ing indoor haunt­ed hous­es and going on hayrides with peo­ple out­side of your family 

The CDC also sug­gests if you have COVID-19 or sus­pect you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you shouldn’t engage in extend­ed fam­i­ly or com­mu­ni­ty Hal­loween cel­e­bra­tions or give can­dy to trick-or-treaters. 

The Illi­nois Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health (IDPH) fur­ther states if oth­er­wise healthy indi­vid­u­als decide to hand out can­dy, an alter­na­tive option to tra­di­tion­al door-to-door trick-or-treat­ing is to place indi­vid­u­al­ly wrapped treats, spaced out, on a table that is at least 6‑feet away from your door. You should wash your hands for at least 20 sec­onds before putting any can­dy on the table and refilling. 

As for trick-or-treaters, only house­hold mem­bers should go togeth­er, not mixed house­holds. Be sure to always car­ry hand san­i­tiz­er with you, main­tain a 6‑feet dis­tance from oth­ers and don’t eat any can­dy until after clean­ing your hands. Also keep in mind that a cos­tume mask is not a sub­sti­tute for a cloth mask. Cos­tume masks also shouldn’t be worn over a cloth masks as they can make it hard­er to breathe. 

If you or a fam­i­ly mem­ber aren’t feel­ing well, it’s best to stay home. Please vis­it our COVID-19 page for more infor­ma­tion on the virus and its symp­toms. You can also sched­ule an in-clin­ic or video vis­it with your pri­ma­ry care provider online.