CBJ Stock Image

Keeping Halloween fun and safe

October 21, 2020 – FYI

Some traditional Halloween activities, like door-to-door trick-or-treating and indoor costume parties, can be high-risk for spreading viruses. During the pandemic, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services recommend safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. Here are some fun suggestions, recommendations for what to avoid this Halloween season, and other things to keep in mind.

Safer ways to celebrate Halloween:

  • Dress up in costumes as a family and have a party at home with just your household.
  • Borrow a tradition from another holiday: Hide a few Halloween treats inside or outside the house and have your child find them. Make the hunt even spookier by giving kids a flashlight to search for their treasures in the dark.
  • Organize a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt at home.
  • Create a fun, safe way to deliver treats from a distance and not from your doorstep – rig a zipline (like this Juneau family!), hang treats from a tree, or clip candy to a clothesline.
  • Carve or decorate pumpkins and roast the seeds, and/or decorate your house, apartment, or living space.
  • Make Halloween-themed foods as a family and eat them while watching a spooky movie together.

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
  • Avoid indoor haunted houses and Halloween parties.
  • If you or a family member has COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, don’t participate in in-person Halloween celebrations or trick-or-treat, and don’t hand out treats to children.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • While outdoor get-togethers are safer than indoor ones, organizers of outdoor events should limit attendees, allow physical distance between guests, provide ways to wash or sanitize hands and commonly touched surfaces, and require everyone to wear face coverings (not just Halloween masks).
  • A typical Halloween mask doesn’t offer the same type of protection against COVID-19 that a surgical mask or cloth face covering provides. Make sure children who are trick-or-treating use a covering that provides a double layer of fabric over their nose and mouth. The CDC advises against layering a Halloween mask over a fabric face covering because that could make it harder to breathe. Instead, modify the costume so it allows the child to wear the protective face covering. Better yet: Decorate your protective face covering so it matches your costume!

For more Halloween guidance and ideas, read the Halloween post in the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Play Every Day blog, and these CDC resources: Holiday Celebrations and Trick or Treating and Other Halloween Activities.