Pandemic Preparedness: COVID-19 risk and Traditional Halloween Activities

As Halloween approaches, it is important to consider the risk of COVID-19 spread that can occur with traditional Halloween activities (e.g., costumes, trick or treating, haunted houses, etc.). Use the table below to assess the risk level associated with typical Fall activities. By choosing a less risky activity to participate in this year, you could help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep your friends and family safe. Visit our previous update for safer alternatives to the traditional Halloween activities.

The table below is meant only to provide a guide to understand the level of risk associated with the mentioned activities within your pandemic pod. There are many factors to consider when evaluating the risk of a particular activity(e.g., how relaxed are individuals with COVID-19 safety precautions?). To thoroughly assess the risk of an activity, you will need to consider the people that you plan on socializing with and the level of precautions they are taking to keep themselves and others safe. For more guidance on assessing risk while interacting with others, see our earlier post on pandemic pods. Also, remember the recipe for a viral infection to evaluate the risk level of a situation: contact with an infected person + the amount of virus the infected person is releasing + the amount of time spent with the infected person. The more time you spend around an infected person, the more likely you are to become sick. For more information about components of the infection formula, visit our previous update.

Low Risk
(with members of your household)
Indoor activities:
Watching Halloween movies with members of your household, or with others via video calling (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or other applications)
Carving pumpkins with members of your household
Creating “Halloween baskets” (instead of trick or treating) to either share with members of your household, or to drop off outside of friends’ and family’s households
Attending or hosting an online Halloween party (via video calling)
Decorating your home with members of your household for Fall or Halloween
Dress up in your halloween costumes at home with members of your household!

Outdoor activities:
Outdoor, physically-distanced get togethers with a small group (five or less) of people that you do not live with 
Trick or treating in a back or front yard (e.g., hiding candy around the yard similar to an Easter egg hunt) with members of your household
Some Risk (with your pandemic pod)Indoor activities:
In person, indoor get togethers with a small group (five or less) 

Outdoor activities:
Outdoor get togethers with a small group (five or less), without physical distancing
Visiting an uncrowded, outdoor pumpkin patch or fall festival where safety precautions are encouraged (e.g., mask wearing and physical distancing guidelines)
High Risk
(with people outside of your pandemic pod)
Indoor activities:
In person, indoor get togethers (without physical distancing or wearing cloth face coverings) with a large group (ten or more). For example, this could be to watch Halloween movies or to have a costume party
Attending an indoor, crowded haunted house

Outdoor activities:
Traditional trick or treating (going door to door to get candy)
Hay or tractor rides
CostumesIf you do decide to dress up this year remember:

Do not share costume masks or accessories with others.
Avoid trying on any costumes or costume masks at a store.
Be aware of handling items that others have touched. If you do come into contact with objects that others may have touched.
While in a halloween store, remember to wear your cloth face covering, follow physical distancing guidelines, avoid touching your face, always wash your hands or use a 70% alcohol based hand sanitizer after leaving.

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