Halloween 2020: Safe Holiday Activities and Mt. Zion’s Plans for Trick or Treating

By EDEN CROTHERS,

Editor

The pandemic has cancelled a lot of our regular holiday plans this year, and this leaves a lot of people wondering if the upcoming fall and winter holidays will suffer the same fate.  Communities around the country have begun debating on whether or not to cancel the regular Trick or Treating to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Some agree with the measures but others just want their children to have some kind of normalcy this year.

Last week, the CDC came out with a list of options for Halloween activities, encouraging everyone to take part in low-risk activities.  They also reminded that if you suspect you have COVID-19 or you 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, the following activities fall under the categories of low, moderate, and high risk.

Lower risk activities include:

– 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 include:

– 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

*** If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.

– Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

Higher risk activities include:

– 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

– Attending crowded costume parties held indoors

– Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming

– Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household

– Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors

– Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.

Recently there has been some concern that Mt. Zion will cancel the normal Halloween activities like Trick or Treating.  The newspaper reached out to Julie Miller, Mt. Zion Village Administrator, in late September to ask whether or not Trick or Treating would be restricted in any way due to the pandemic.  Julie Miller responded “At this time, there are no plans to restrict trick or treating activities”. The Village’s website lists the Trick or Treating Hours as 5:00 – 8:00 pm on October 31st..

Upcoming October editions will have information on how to keep Trick or Treating safe if you and your family choose to participate this Halloween.

Photo of Poe Crothers dressed up as a pumpkin for Halloween

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