CDC releases guidelines for a safe Halloween amid COVID-19



Pumpkins are shown at Bob’s Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Ten California counties were cleared to ease coronavirus restrictions Tuesday, including some in the Central Valley that saw major case spikes over the summer, but the state’s top health official warned that upcoming Halloween celebrations pose a risk for renewed spread. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

By Brian Contreras

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance about how to celebrate Halloween safely, encouraging people to adhere to safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A Saturday Halloween would likely bring out swarms of trick-or-treaters in past years, but this year, COVID-19 may scare them away.

The CDC grouped activities into three “risk” categories: lower-risk, moderate-risk and higher-risk. Lower-risk activities provide a safe alternative to the more dangerous activities, while the city designated higher-risk activities as those that should be avoided to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Some lower-risk activities include:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume party

Moderate-risk activities 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
  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins

Higher-risk activities include:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming

Fort Worth residents and local communities are working on plans to keep everyone safe.

Fort Worth resident and parent Yvette Owens said she believes parents are in a tough position this holiday season.

“My kids definitely want to go out to trick or treat, but I really don’t know what we are going to do this year,” Owens said. “I’m not sure how comfortable I feel with my kids going door to door and not knowing if someone has [COVID-19] or has had it.” 

Some communities and homeowners associations are trying to curb the spread of COVID-19. Donnie Davis, the president of Eagle Ranch’s Homeowners Association, is hoping all of the families will do their best to follow the rules.

“We are not stopping families from doing a traditional door-to-door Halloween this year,” Davis said. “We have asked all of our families in our community to follow the CDC guidelines and wear a mask while out.”

Church-hosted trick-or-treating and fall festivals have become tradition for some families to attend. However, churches have decided to change those events and, in some cases, cancel them.

“We have been hosting a ‘trunk-or-treat’ for our members for the past 11 years since we opened but we thought the safest thing was just to cancel it this year,” said Terry Meyer, the director of Western Hills United Methodist Church in Fort Worth.

The CDC is asking anyone who has COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 not to participate in in-person Halloween festivities, including giving out candy to trick-or-treaters.