The Whatcom County Health Department Offers Tips for a Spooky, Safe and Healthy Halloween

Submitted by the Whatcom County Health Department

Halloween is on its way, and with everything we’ve been going through this year, we’re looking forward to the festivities it brings. Pumpkin carving, decorating our homes, and wearing costumes are all great ways to celebrate Halloween. But one thing we don’t want to bring into our celebration is COVID-19. Halloween will look different this year, and different can still be fun. We’ve provided some tips for you to be able to celebrate Halloween safely, and still have a fun and spooky holiday.

Lower-Risk Activities

There are a variety of safe ways to celebrate Halloween, some that you’re used to, and others that may be new. We encourage you to celebrate Halloween with these lower-risk activities:

  • Carve pumpkins.
    • If you’re carving pumpkins with friends, the key is to maintain distance from one another. It’s safest to do this outside.
  • Decorate your house/yard/apartment.
  • Have a household Halloween movie night or host a virtual watch party with friends or family.
  • Create a candy scavenger hunt around your house.
  • Host a virtual costume contest.

Moderate-Risk Activities

Some Halloween activities come with more risk. If you choose to participate in these, remember to wear your mask and maintain six feet of physical distance:

  • Visit a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard
  • Have a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than six feet apart. Remember to limit your close contacts to five people outside of your household per week. 
  • Hold an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least six feet apart.

Higher-Risk Activities

Avoid these higher-risk activities. The close contact and opportunity for large groups make these activities unsafe because there’s a much greater chance that you could spread COVID-19 to others:

  • Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating.
  • Trunk-or-treating.
  • Halloween parties.
  • Indoor haunted houses are not permitted.

Trick-or-Treating

We strongly discourage typical door-to-door trick-or-treating because it creates a situation where you will come into close contact with many people. It’s best if you don’t share candy or other Halloween goodies with others. 

If you do choose to participate in handing out candy to trick-or-treaters:

  • Offer no-contact treats by bagging up separate treats and placing them away from your front door or in your yard or near the sidewalk. Allow trick-or-treaters to gather candy while remaining physically distanced.
  • If you are preparing bags of candy, wash your hands well before and after preparing the bags. 

If you choose to go trick-or-treating:

  • Do not substitute a Halloween mask for a face covering. Wear an approved face mask. Find one that fits in with your costume!
  • Maintain six feet of distance from other trick-or-treaters or residents who are handing out candy.
  • If you are trick-or-treating with others outside your household, keep six feet of distance between yourselves.
  • Stay away from large costume parties or trick-or-treating events.
  • Bring plenty of hand sanitizer with you.

COVID-19 cases in our county are on the rise, and we have, unfortunately, seen an increase in cases after most holidays. Let’s work together to make sure that doesn’t happen during Halloween. While it’s fun to get spooked out by ghosts, vampires and clowns, we don’t want to add COVID-19 to that list.

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