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CDC recommends skipping door-to-door trick-or-treating this Halloween

The agency says there are safer activities that consumers should try this year

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Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that Americans avoid Halloween celebrations that involve in-person interactions this year.

The agency says traditional in-person Halloween festivities -- like having an indoor costume party, going to a haunted house, or giving out candy to trick-or-treaters going door-to-door -- should be avoided this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

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

Safer alternatives

While group gatherings and giving out candy in the traditional way aren’t recommended this year, the CDC says Americans can enjoy Halloween in a number of low-risk ways, including: 

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household;

  • 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; and

  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house-to-house.

Halloween activities categorized by health officials as “moderate risk” 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;

  • 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;

  • 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; and

  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart.

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