(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health on Tuesday issued a news release, offering guidance for a safe Halloween in the time of COVID-19.
“Although Halloween traditions in Hawai‘i may look different this year, there are still many ways families can have fun while avoiding the scare of being exposed to or spreading the virus,” the health department said.
From the news release:
This Halloween, the Hawai‘i Department of Health recommends celebrating with your household members at home and avoiding traditional door-to-door trick or treating where treats are handed to children or children take candy from a shared bucket. These are high-risk activities as they can result in close contact and crowding among people outside your household.
“It’s more important than ever to put safety first,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “Gatherings on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day led to spikes in positive cases in Hawai‘i. This Halloween, be extra mindful as you navigate how to safely celebrate in order to keep the spread of coronavirus as low as possible during this holiday.”
Thankfully, people in Hawai‘i are creative and caring; some communities have planned fun and safe festivities – such as contactless trick or treating and drive-thru pumpkin patches – to be enjoyed throughout the month. Choosing these low-risk Halloween activities can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 illness, decrease the impact on our state’s health care system, and save lives.
Other ideas for safer, low-risk activities include hosting a scary movie watch party online, organizing a neighborhood pumpkin carving contest and carving the pumpkins with people in your household, and hosting a virtual Halloween costume contest.
Most importantly, DOH encourages everyone to keep following safe practices – avoid large gatherings, keep a distance of six feet from others, wash hands often, and wear a cloth face covering.
“Carefully plan your costume. Because Halloween masks have nose and mouth holes, they will not protect you or others from COVID-19,” said Dr. Char. “Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask or vice versa as it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth face mask.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided a list of activities that are considered low risk, moderate risk, and high risk.
Lower risk activities
- Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them.
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space.
- Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.
- Having a virtual Halloween costume contest.
- Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with.
- Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.
Moderate risk activities
- 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 (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard). If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
- Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart.
- Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart. A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face. Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
- Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart. If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing.
- Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart. If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus. Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
Higher risk activities
- Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
- Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
- Attending crowded costume parties held indoors.
- Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.
- Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household.
- Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors.
- Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.