Don’t be spooked – you can still find safe and fun ways to celebrate Halloween this year. Here are some suggestion and guidelines….
The Concord Town Manager and Board of Health have received inquiries regarding Halloween events and safety during COVID-19. In an effort to create a safe holiday, we have taken the following items into consideration:
- Acknowledge and respond to the recent increase in COVID activity within Concord and surrounding towns;
- Reduce the risk to all Concord residents;
- Support efforts to keep our schools open;
- Discourage gatherings in neighborhoods and out-of-town participation; and
- Adhere to Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines
The Board of Health and Town Manager are advising residents to avoid Higher Risk and Moderate Risk activities including traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. Lower Risk activities are preferred ways to celebrate while minimizing risk.
The Concord Recreation Department is offering a Lower Risk Halloween event: A DRIVE THRU HALLOWEEN. The event will take place at CCHS’s parking lot on Sunday, October 25th from 1:00-3:45 PM. For more information please see: http://www.concordrec.com/288/A-Drive-Thru-Halloween.
As a reminder, restrictions are still in place which limit indoor and outdoor activities. Please see the mass.gov website for questions on restrictions.
For those who choose to partake in Trick-or-Treating:
Please be aware that Trick-or-Treating needs to be done differently this year to help protect everyone.
- Wear an appropriate cloth face covering,
- Social distancing of at least 6’ is required at all times for everyone, unless you live in the same household.
- Trick-or-Treat as a household group and avoid large groups and indoor gatherings.
- Provide individually wrapped candy or goodie bags that can be placed outdoors for easy access that allows participants to maintain social distancing. Place treats on a platter for families to grab and go with minimal contact; avoid communal candy bowls.
- Stay home if you don’t feel well or may have been exposed to COVID-19 and do not hand out treats.
- Those who do not wish to participate in Trick-or-Treat are asked to shut off their outdoors lights as an indicator.
CDC Halloween Guidelines
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.
LOWER RISK ACTIVITIES
These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
MODERATE RISK ACTIVITIES
- Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
- If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
- Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
- Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
- A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
- Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
- Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
- If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
- Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart
HIGHER RISK ACTIVITIES
Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
- 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 large parking lots
In some ways, 2020 would make for the perfect Halloween: the holiday falls on a Saturday, and it’s a full moon (specifically, a “blue moon,” an event that occurs only once every couple of years).
But it’s no surprise that Halloween will look very different in 2020. With coronavirus rates rising in some parts of the country and social distancing measures still in place, many people are thinking about their health and that of others while considering how to celebrate.
Here are some Halloween ideas from families across the country to keep the holiday spooky while staying safe, complete with wearing masks, sanitizing often and practicing social distancing.
Shift trick-or-treating to a grab-and-go affair.
Door-to-door trick-or-treating this year may instead be table-to-table. In Canonsburg, Pa., Dana Armstrong, 39, and her neighbors are recommending families put tables outdoors, at the end of their driveways or in front of their homes, with candy spread out on top for children to grab as they pass. A similar concept is popping up in Chicago neighborhoods. After discussing it with her husband, Sarah Barr, 40, said she’ll head out — masked up — with her 10-year-old daughter, along with a small group of friends and their parents. Any house where the tables look like subway platforms during rush hour, or where people aren’t wearing masks, “Keep on movin’!” Ms. Barr said.
In Washington, Veronica Jimenez, 45, is putting a twist on trick-or-treating by taking her children on a walk through their neighborhood — and being their candy dispenser.
“For every decorated house we see, I’ll give them some candy,” she said. “That was an easy idea of how I can make them happy, but also keep safe.”
Focus on family time.
Last Halloween, Ivonne Valdes and her husband went to Disney World with their children, now 5 and 3. This year, Ms. Valdes turned to Pinterest for inspiration on decorating their Miami backyard.
“I’m thinking of setting up a scavenger hunt of little bags with Halloween candy and treats,” Ms. Valdes said. They will try their hands at pumpkin carving, then spend the evening making cupcakes and watching their favorite holiday flicks like “Hotel Transylvania.”
Creativity is buzzing in other Miami homes, too. Elisa Douglass, 44, has turned costumes into a family challenge for her husband and two kids, 10 and 12. “I thought, ‘Let’s make our own costumes,’” said Ms. Douglass, a master sewer, who encouraged the family to collect odds and ends from around the house. Also on the agenda: pizza, baking and 80s movies.
“My kids love being home, so in a sense I got lucky,” she said.
Barring any snow in Minneapolis, Tiffany Tomlin Kurtz, 43, and a small group of neighbors plan to organize an outdoor party, with a glow-in-the-dark candy hunt for the kids, a bonfire for adults and an outdoor projector showing a Halloween flick.
In Atlanta, after their kids wrote a letter making the case for more than a backyard Halloween party, Maggie and Garrett Mock and other friend-parents put their heads together to come up with a “progressive party,” Covid-19 style.
“Each house will give away candy, but also host a little extra activity to make up for the limited stops,” Ms. Mock said. From pizza and piñatas at one stop, and at other stops, backyard dance parties, ghost tales around the bonfire and, of course, an outside projector with scary movies.