Halloween in the Time of COVID-19: A Safer Way to Celebrate

family celebrating Halloween at home

Costumes, candy, spooky stories – whether you are young, or just young at heart, Halloween is a holiday many of us love to celebrate every year.

But the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed everything these last few months. Including our favorite holiday traditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines that recommend against trick-or-treating this year, along with other high-risk activities, such as attending Halloween parties inside someone’s house, visiting indoor haunted houses or attending other large, crowded events.

We may not be bobbing for apples together. But there are still things you can do to celebrate safely at home with your immediate family. Here are some ideas, courtesy of the CDC.

Carve pumpkins with your family. Gather everyone who lives in your home together and have fun carving your spookiest jack-o-lanterns. Take pictures and share them on social media. You could even host an online photo contest and see which ones gets the most likes. Or, you and your neighbors could have a socially distant carving party and carve pumpkins on your front porches.

Organize a virtual costume party. Thanks to Zoom and other technology platforms, you can still get together with your friends from the safety of your own home. Log onto your computer, dress up in your best Halloween costume, and let the celebration begin.

Hold a Halloween scavenger hunt. Buy some Halloween treats and toys and hide them all around your home or yard for your kids to find.

Have a movie night. Halloween is the best time to binge watch scary movies. Cuddle up on the couch and put on your favorite flick. You could even host a group virtual watch party. You could use Zoom and share your screen with your friends. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime also have remote streaming capabilities.

Outside is safer than inside

Outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones, as long as you are following COVID-19 safety guidelines. That includes wearing masks, washing hands often and staying at least six feet apart from those who aren’t in your household.

The CDC classifies several Halloween activities as moderate risk, such as going to a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard, visiting an open-air haunted forest or having a costume party outside. If you are going to be screaming, stay more than six feet apart.

Setting up a table with individually wrapped treats at the end of your driveway or yard for children to take is also a less risky way to participate in Halloween. Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after you put together any goodie bags.

Remember that a Halloween mask isn’t the same as wearing a cloth mask. Your mask should have two or more layers of breathable fabric, and cover your mouth and nose. It should not leave gaps around your face. Do not wear a costume mask over your cloth mask, as it may make it difficult to breathe and is a safety hazard.

Most importantly, if anyone in your family is sick with COVID-19 symptoms—stay home.

From all of us at Luminis Health, we wish you a healthy and safe Halloween with more treats than tricks.

Jean MurrayJean Murray is the director of Infection Control at Anne Arundel Medical Center.