Celebrating Halloween During a Pandemic

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Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler asks for your help to make sure everyone has a healthy and safe Halloween.

“Halloween activities, including trick-or-treating, must be done in a safe way to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Schuyler.

Here are some creative ideas to celebrate Halloween, have fun with people that live in your household, and keep your family safe:

Decorate your house or apartment,
Decorate and carve pumpkins,
Play Halloween-themed games,
Watch spooky movies,
Trick-or-Treat through your house – room by room,
Have a backyard scavenger hunt,
Organize a virtual Halloween costume party,
Have an open-air, outdoor costume parade where people are 6 feet apart.

If you are planning to celebrate outside your home, please help keep your community and family safe and healthy:

Don’t enter other people’s homes,
Only give out, or pick up, commercially wrapped treats that are sealed,
Consider non-candy Halloween treats – glittery stickers, magnets, temporary tattoos, pencils, bookmarks, glow sticks, mini notebooks,
Supply grab-and-go individually wrapped treats on a table outside your home/apartment building (6 feet away from your door), so kids and families stay outside,
Trick-or-treat with your family members, and stay 6 feet away from others,
Stay away from crowded streets or neighborhoods,
Wear a face covering if over the age of 2 and able to medically tolerate one – most Halloween masks won’t be sufficient to meet NYSDOH guidance (2 or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face), so skip the costume mask, and incorporate your face covering into your costume! Don’t wear your face covering under your Halloween mask, as it may be hard to breathe.
Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before, during, and after Halloween activities!

DO NOT trick-or-treat or leave out candy if you are sick or live with someone who is sick.

DO NOT host or attend a party or large indoor gathering. Events lasting several hours or that have people who have traveled from areas of high COVID-19 transmission puts your family at risk.

DO NOT stay anywhere that people are gathering in large groups, not wearing face coverings, or staying socially distanced. Leave and find a safer way to celebrate.

DO NOT forget to get your flu vaccine. Gatherings can contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, including the flu. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health.

For more information about safe fall and winter holiday celebrations, please visit chqgov.com and click on COVID-19 Information.