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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: October 21, 2021

How to Have a Eerily Safe Halloween in 2021

Given the recent surge driven by the delta variant, it’s understandable to feel a little spooked about Halloween this year. It’s also understandable to want to dress up for a party or stock up on candy for all the trick-or-treaters you may not have seen last year. 

Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, there’s some good news: by observing a few precautions, both trick-or-treating and costume parties can be enjoyed safely this year. 

Trick-Or-Treating

Get your trick-or-treat on! Trick-or-treating is a fairly safe activity since it takes place almost entirely outside and most people are vaccinated. But COVID-19 is still lurking among us, and there’s still a small chance of catching or spreading COVID-19, even if you’re vaccinated. Take these steps to limit the possibility of COVID-19 transmission:

  • Get vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu.
  • Stay home away from others if you feel sick.
  • Keep trick-or-treating groups small.
  • Keep your distance at doorsteps. Don’t crowd people who aren’t in your trick or treating group.
  • Keep all contact outdoors. Do not invite trick-or-treaters inside. Hand them candy at the door or outside. 
  • Wear a mask or face covering that covers both nose and mouth to prevent germs from spreading.
    • A costume mask is not a substitute for a properly fitting face covering. A properly fitted mask or face covering fits snugly over both nose and mouth and consists of at least two layers of cloth. Do NOT wear a costume mask over a face mask - doing so could cause breathing difficulties. Likewise, don’t wear a face mask over a costume mask. 
  • Wash your hands before eating or handing out candy.

Halloween Parties

Due to the likelihood of prolonged close contact, Halloween parties are not as safe as trick-or-treating, especially if they’re held indoors. If you’re planning on hosting or attending a Halloween party, follow these tips to minimize the possibility of spreading COVID-19:

  • The safest gathering is virtual. 
  • The next safest gathering is vaccinated. If everyone’s fully vaccinated, masking and social distancing are not required. You may want to still wear a mask (the COVID kind) as an additional layer of protection.
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors. Masks don’t need to be worn outdoors unless there are 500 or more guests - but you should still take steps to prevent crowding. Masks should be worn outdoors when 6 feet of distance isn’t realistic.

If you’re hosting an indoor event with unvaccinated* people in attendance:

  • Everyone needs to wear a mask, even if vaccinated. 
    • A costume mask is not an acceptable alternative to a face mask. To guard against COVID-19, masks need to fit snugly over both nose and mouth, and have at least 2 layers of cloth. 
    • Do not wear a costume mask over a face mask! This may cause difficulty breathing. 
  • The venue should be large enough to prevent crowding. If hosting at someone’s house, limit the number of guests. 
    • As a general rule of thumb, venues should be large enough to allow 6 feet of space between participants at all times. 
  • The party should be held outdoors as much as possible. Indoor spaces should be well-ventilated.
  • Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after gathering. 

*You’re considered unvaccinated if you haven’t completed your vaccination series - so “partially” vaccinated people are considered “unvaccinated” in this guidance. If you’ve gotten one shot but you need two, or if you’ve gotten all the shots you need but it’s been less than two weeks since your last shot, you should consider yourself unvaccinated until it’s been two weeks after you’ve gotten the last shot in your series.

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