CDC Advises Against Trick-or-Treating, Indoor Parties This Halloween

September 22, 2020


John Lyon
Strategic Communications Manager

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Door-to-door trick-or-treating and crowded indoor parties are not recommended this Halloween, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in a new guidance on holiday celebrations.

The guidance also addresses other fall holidays, including Thanksgiving and Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. Celebrations “will likely need to be different this fall to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” the guidance states.

The guidance lists Halloween activities that are considered to carry higher, moderate, or lower risk for spreading the virus.

Higher-risk Halloween activities, which should be avoided:

  • Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating
  • Trunk-or-treat, where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in parking lots
  • Crowded indoor parties
  • Indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not members of your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgment and lead to risky behaviors
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival not in your community

Moderate-risk Halloween activities:

  • One-way trick-or-treating, where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up at the edge of a yard or driveway for families to grab and go
  • A small-group, outdoor costume parade where people are more than 6 feet apart
  • An outdoor party where protective masks are used (a Halloween mask is not recommended; instead, consider a Halloween-themed cloth mask that covers the nose and mouth and does not leave gaps around the face)
  • A one-way, walk-through haunted forest where mask use is enforced and people can remain 6 feet apart
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, mask use is enforced or encouraged, and people can remain 6 feet apart
  • An outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends, with people 6 feet apart (or farther than 6 feet apart if screaming is likely)

Lower-risk Halloween activities, which can be safe alternatives:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with neighbors or friends outside, with people 6 feet apart
  • Decorating your home
  • A scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while walking outdoors from house to house and viewing Halloween decorations from a distance
  • A scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat with household members in or around your home
  • A virtual Halloween costume contest
  • A Halloween movie night with members of your household

For Day of the Dead celebrations, the CDC recommends activities such as preparing traditional family recipes for relatives and neighbors and delivering them in a way that does not involve contact with others, playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed, making and decorating masks or an altar for the deceased, setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased, and having virtual get-togethers.

The CDC said its recommendations are not meant to replace state or local restrictions or guidelines.

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