Celebrate Halloween the Safe Way
Halloween. The spooky and fun-filled autumn holiday comes once a year, and this time round it comes with a whole lot of questions. Children and families all across the country who celebrate Halloween have been left wondering how to do so during a pandemic or if there are even any options for celebrating safely. The Connecticut State Department of Public Health (CT DPH) has released guidelines in regard to traditional Halloween activities this year, recommending that everyone review the federal guidance recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The federal guidance released provides recommendations for all fall holiday celebrations including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Día de Los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali, and Thanksgiving. The Town of Manchester encourages residents to follow this guidance.
In the case of Halloween, the CT DPH recommends that residents avoid higher risk activities, which include the following according to the CDC:
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
- Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in parking lots
- Attending crowded indoor costume parties
- Going to an indoor haunted house
- Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people outside of your household
- Using drugs or alcohol, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behavior
- Traveling to fall festivals outside of your community
Moderate risk activities are those which allow for greater social distancing and include the use of protective equipment, such as one way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go. Small outdoor gatherings in which protective masks are worn are also in this category, including socially distanced costume parades, outdoor costume parties, one-way walk-through haunted forests, and outdoor Halloween movie nights with local community members. Visits to pumpkin patches and orchards are also considered moderate risk activities, as long as people use hand sanitizer before touching the products, wear masks, and maintain social distancing.
The CT DPH announced trick-or-treating and Halloween party recommendations, which suggests one-way trick-or-treating allowing for goodies to be grab-and-go and provides information on safety procedures and regulations.
Lower risk activities provide safe alternatives for celebrating Halloween and include the following:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins within your household or outside with neighbors and friends
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt outdoors
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night in your household
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with household members
Some moderate and lower risk activities can be found across the state of CT. Taking advantage of safe alternatives can allow for households to still have a festive and fun-filled Halloween while keeping healthy and safe during the global pandemic. A few Halloween-themed opportunities that offer safe alternatives to higher risk activities include:
- H.P. Lovecraft: The Cosmic Horror of Modern America, presented virtually
- Carve-Con 2020, virtual event
- West Hartford Hauntings, 2020, an outdoor theatrical cemetery tour requiring masks and social distancing
- Brown’s Harvest, farm offering outdoor corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkins and baked goods for purchase
Halloween is clearly not cancelled, but instead will look a little different this year. There are still a variety of exciting ways to celebrate the holiday while maintaining safety and following CDC and CT DPH guidelines. Stay safe this Halloween!