Pumpkin picking

Northeast Georgia Health System recently released COVID-19 safety guidelines for this year’s Halloween festivities.

The recommendations were developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” according to the recommendations. “You can reduce the risk of spread by making smart choices for Halloween fun.”

The CDC released the following low-risk activities:

  • decorate your home or living space
  • decorate pumpkins with members of your household or with neighbors at a safe distance
  • movie night with family
  • virtual Halloween costume contest
  • scavenger hunts (give children a list of Halloween-themed items to look for while they walk outdoors and look at Halloween decor)
  • hide candy in your yard for household members

According to the CDC's recommendations, the following are moderate risk activities:

  • one-way trick-or-treating — individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab from driveways or the yard. Those preparing the bags are asked to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags
  • open-air costume parade/movie night with small groups that practice social distancing and wear masks
  • pumpkin patches and orchards that use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or apples, masks are worn and people are able to socially distance

The CDC recommends avoiding the following higher risk activities:

  • traditional trick-or-treating where children go door-to-door
  • trunk-or-treating where candies are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • crowded indoor costume parties and crowded indoor haunted houses
  • hayrides and tractor rides with people outside your household
  • alcohol or drugs, which can "cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors"
  • attending a rural fall festival not in your community if the community spread of COVID-19 is high

Those with COVID-19 or those who've been exposed are asked to not participate in in-person Halloween festivities, including handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

The CDC recommends that those who plan to host a Halloween celebration assess current COVID-19 levels in the area to determine whether to postpone, cancel or reduce the number of attendees.

The CDC also recommends wearing a proper cloth face mask.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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