COVID-19 is changing Halloween

Halloween Jack-o-lantern wearing a surgical mask. Photo courtesy

With the holiday season approaching many families have found themselves trying to navigate upcoming celebrations in a traditional but safe way with COVID-19 still raging.

Halloween is the next holiday that invokes large gatherings, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have rolled out a list of guidelines that mark traditional Halloween festivities under terms of low-, medium- and high-risk.

As the year progresses COVID-19 continues to take opportunities away from people of all ages such as graduations, weddings and holidays. Halloween — which is meant to be filled with spooky costume parties and haunted hay bale rides — will look a little different this year around.

The list of guidelines for the upcoming holidays provided by the CDC covers ways people can practice ongoing traditions while reducing the spread of COVID-19.

“Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters,” according to the CDC.

Chart of Halloween activities and their level of risk according to the CDC. Photo courtesy

Under these guidelines traditional trick-or-treating from door to door is deemed a “high-risk activity” alongside various Halloween traditions such as crowded indoor costume parties, traveling to rural fall festivals, and indoor haunted houses.

Dr. David Hirschwerk, an infectious disease attending physician at Northwell Health system, said that the CDC guidelines for Halloween are nothing we have net been told already.

“We still, unfortunately, are far from the end of this pandemic, and I think that the CDC reminders, really more than anything, should have us all pause to think about what our plans are, whether it’s for Halloween or for Thanksgiving,” he said, according to The New York Times.

But don’t worry, Halloween is not completely ruined. Alongside these high-risk activities are alternative low-risk activities that could still give Halloween the same spooky feel. The CDC recommends having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with members of your household as opposed to going from house to house.

As Halloween approaches many parents have been scrambling to find ways to give their children the same Halloween experience they are used to while simultaneously keeping them protected.

Tiffany Norton, a Tallahassee native and mother to three sons ages 3, 6 and 9, said her boys are not too concerned about trick-or-treating but are still looking forward to getting dressed up.

“I have been telling my boys throughout the year that COVID-19 is going on right now, so they are aware of being safe. I still want them to be kids and experience Halloween but I do not want them to be in a crowd of people,” shew said. “I may just throw a Halloween party where they are just around each other so we do not have to worry about anything happen.”