What is Halloween going to look like this year?
Maybe your kids are asking. Maybe you’ve started thinking about it. Either way, Halloween is almost here.
But in the middle of a pandemic, what will the holiday look like?
A day traditionally filled with costumes and candy certainly needs to be celebrated differently in 2020. That’s because many of these activities are the perfect opportunity for germ transmission (isn’t the thought of bobbing for apples or kids sticking hands in bowls of candy horrifying right now?)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidelines for celebrating safely. The recommendations categorize festivities into lower, moderate and higher risk and offer alternatives to many traditional Halloween activities. Here’s a look at some of the festivities and suggestions.
- Pumpkin carving or watching movies with family members at home
- Having a virtual costume contest
- Participating in a Halloween scavenger hunt
Moderate Risk Activities
- Individually wrapping goodie bags to line up outside for trick or treaters
- Having an outdoor costume parade with social distancing
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards
- Participating in traditional trick or treating
- Attending indoor costume parties
- Going to an indoor haunted house
The CDC advises wearing a mask at all times when around others not in your own household and stresses that a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask.
Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer of Advocate Children’s Hospital, is not surprised by the recommendations.
“Every family needs to weigh risk and benefits of any activity they are participating in during the pandemic. Masking, hand washing and social distancing are a must regardless of activity,” he urges.
Dr. Kevin Dahlman, medical director for Aurora Children’s Health in Milwaukee, says the risk of door-to-door trick-or-treating is high for both children and homeowners. “As parents, we’re going to have to get more creative with our celebrations,” he says.
You can read the full CDC guidelines here, which offer creative opportunities to celebrate the season.
About the Author
Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.