The Centers for Disease Control said Monday that many activities enjoyed by children and adults at Halloween, including trick-or-treating, are high-risk for spreading COVID-19 and should be avoided this year.
“Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” the CDC wrote in new guidance.
Trick-or-treating was considered the highest-risk activity along with indoor costume parties, indoor haunted houses with screaming, and riding hayrides with people not from your household.
Safer alternatives to trick-or-treat
“There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween,” the guidance reads, listing carving pumpkins with members of your household, decorating your living space, and having a virtual costume contest or scary movie night.
One-way trick-or-treating where goodie bags are lined up outside for kids to take was considered moderate risk along with a socially distanced costume parade or an outdoor haunted forest where people stay at least six feet apart.
The CDC also cautioned kids not to wear costume masks as protective, and not to wear protective masks with costume masks because they could cause breathing difficulties. Halloween-themed cloth masks were suggested.
If people are screaming, distances of more than six feet were recommended.
Where’s the fun?
Reason magazine noted that the new CDC guidelines were bound to take a lot of the fun out of the very popular holiday. “By the time you’re prioritizing “rigorous” anything, you’re generally not talking about a super-fun event,” Free-range Parent Columnist Lenore Skenazy wrote.
“Maybe the agency could recommend some new games, like, ‘Who can suck their mask in the farthest?’ Or ‘Green scream!’ where kids compete to see who can create the scariest green screen background,” she continued.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that fall would be a critical time for COVID-19 mitigation efforts, theorizing that the virus will spread more as people spend more time indoors.
But I would guess that in many places around the country where summer temperatures regularly swelter into the triple digits, people might actually spend more time outside during the fall when things cool off to more comfortable temperatures.