Halloween celebrations and activities, including trick-or-treating, can be filled with fun, but must be done in a safe way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
If you feel your family can’t wait until next year for the more traditional Halloween activities, and you are planning to celebrate outside your home this year, make sure you follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts to help keep your family and your community safe and healthy.
- Enjoy virtual celebrations or socially distanced activities that are outdoors as much as possible.
- Trick-or-treat only with your household family group. Consider a family costume theme!
- Always stay socially distanced from those who are not living in your household. (You don’t want to get too close to a witch, a ghost, or especially a virus!)
- For those choosing to give out treats, avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
- Give treats outdoors. Set up a station with individually bagged or packaged treats for kids to take. Participate 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).
- It is best to take candy only if it is individually wrapped in a sealed wrapper or baggy, and is available to grab and go placed separately from other candies, so kids can easily pick up their treats without touching candy another child will take (e.g., no bowls).
- If setting a grab and go station, set it six feet from your front door, which will allow trick or treaters to feel comfortable to approach, knowing they will not be in close contact with anyone at the location.
- All individuals over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear face coverings or cloth masks. Most Halloween masks won’t be sufficient to meet Department of
Health guidance, so ensure you wear a face covering that provides adequate protection.
- See if you can incorporate your face covering into a costume, but remember, a face covering must always be made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before, during and after any Halloween activities.
- Consider carrying Halloween-themed or decorated hand sanitizer or leaving some out for your treat-or-treaters to use.
- Only give out, or pick up, commercially wrapped treats that are sealed.
- Trick-or-treat or leave out candy if you are sick, live with someone who is sick, have been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days, are under isolation or quarantine, or have traveled internationally or to a state affected by the NYS Travel Advisory in the last 14 days.
- Participate in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed out at the door and where you cannot stay socially distanced.
- Pick out candy from a bowl or receive candy directly from someone’s hands. If there is crowding in front of a home, or if treats are directly taken from a bowl or directly handed out from someone’s hands, skip that house and find a safer option.
- Trick-or-treat in crowded streets or neighborhoods where social distance cannot be maintained.
- Trick-or-treat indoors, unless you are at your own house with family members. You should especially avoid any crowding in elevators, hallways or stairwells.
- Trick-or-treat in large groups.
- Take candy from someone else’s candy bag.
- Host or attend a party or any type of gathering or event, whether it is indoors or outdoors over the mass gathering limits set for your area. Events lasting several hours or that have people who have traveled from other areas where transmission is higher put your family most at risk of COVID-19 transmission. If you do go to an event and see a large crowd, or if there are others there who are not wearing face coverings or staying socially distanced, you should leave and find another way to celebrate Halloween.
- Wear a Halloween mask instead of a face covering, unless the Halloween mask meets the face covering guidance.
- Wear a Halloween costume mask OVER a cloth face mask; it can make it difficult to breathe. Instead, skip the costume mask this year and choose a cloth face mask that compliments your costume or is Halloween-themed.
And don't forget...
COSTUME SAFETY – There are steps parents can take to keep their little ghosts and goblins safe in their disguises:
- Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Use flame-resistant costumes.
- Use face makeup instead of masks, which can cover their eyes and make it hard to see.
BE SAFE WHILE OUT AND ABOUT – To maximize safety for the trick or treaters, plan a route ahead of time. Make sure adults know where children are going. If the children are young, a parent or responsible adult should accompany them as they walk through the neighborhood. Here are more safety tips to follow as children go from house to house:
- Make sure trick-or-treaters have a flashlight.
- Visit only the homes that have a porch light on.
- Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic.
- Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner.
- Don’t cut across yards or use alleys.
- Don’t cross between parked cars.
- Be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
GREETING TRICK OR TREATERS – For those who expect to welcome trick-or-treaters, they can make sure it’s fun for everyone by following a few tips:
- Make sure the outdoor lights are on.
- Sweep leaves from sidewalks and steps.
- Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over.
- Restrain pets.