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            Halloween 2020: CDC tips to help you celebrate safely during coronavirus


            "Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends," is a lower-risk activity for Halloween, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(Image by?M W?from?Pixabay)

            Halloween is three weeks away, and many of us are making plans for little witches, pirates, princesses and superheroes. Celebrating the holiday can seem challenging this year, however, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the United States.

            Which activities are safest? Is trick-or-treating risky? Do traditional masks for kids offer protection from the virus? Can I visit a pumpkin patch without fretting?

            Recommendations on these issues and more are offered on the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, there’s a whole section on holiday celebrations that’s filled with tips, guidance and specifics for children and adults.

            “Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” the website says. “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.”

            Here’s what the CDC has to say about Halloween activities in 2020:

            ON MASKS:

            • Do not use a costume mask (such as for Halloween) as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face.
            • Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.


            • 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.


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


            • 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.

            “These considerations are meant to supplement — not replace — any state, local, territorial or tribal health and safety laws, rules and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply,” the CDC website says. “When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees.”