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Toi Degree column: Halloween celebration guidelines

With the convergence of a full moon, a blue moon, daylight savings time and Saturday celebrations — plus the unprecedented events of this year — Halloween 2020 will truly be one to remember. In order to have a safe and fun Halloween, here are a few things that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests if you are hosting a celebration:

Hosting a celebration

  • Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible. If hosting an outdoor event is not possible and you choose to host an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated or fully enclosed indoor spaces.
    • Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that it is safe and feasible based on the weather.
  • Host activities with only people from your local area as much as possible.
  • Limit numbers of attendees as much as possible.
  • Provide updated information to your guests about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and steps in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Provide or encourage attendees to bring supplies (extra masks, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and tissues) to help you and others stay healthy.

During the celebration

Follow these tips to reduce your risk of being exposed to, getting or spreading COVID-19 during the celebration:

Social distance and limit close contact

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with. Be particularly mindful in areas where it may be harder to keep this distance, such as restrooms and eating areas.
  • Minimize gestures that promote close contact. For example, do not shake hands, bump elbows or give hugs. Instead, wave and verbally greet others.

Wear masks

  • Wear a mask at all times when around people who don’t live in your household to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Avoid singing, chanting or shouting especially when not wearing a mask and are within 6 feet of others.

Do not use costume masks in place of cloth masks

  • Do not use a costume mask (such as for Halloween) as a substitute for a cloth mask unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face.
  • Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

I know that the children want to get out and have fun and gather candy; this year it will be a bit more challenging to do so. Here are a few ideas that I found that you may want to consider:

Trick or Treat in Reverse — Get the kids all decked out in their costume of choice and hang out with them in the front yard as neighbors walk or drive by and deliver candy!

Trick or Treat Drive-By — Take a ride to visit friends and fam in costume! Honk, text or shout upon arrival and deliver some treats or tricks in costume to your favorite folks!

Costume Week — Fully embrace your inner costume character, and dress up throughout the entire week leading up to that big ole Blue Moon! Your friends and family will have a blast running errands, walking the dog, or joining a Zoom meeting… in costume!

Neighborhood Candy Hunt — A trick or treat treasure map can point to all the goodies or just let them run wild and discover strategically placed stashes of sweets! Make sure to lay the ground rules to keep social distancing guidelines in place!

Neighborhood Pub Crawl — Neighborhood Pub Crawl: For all the late-night shenanigan seekers who are over the (blue) moon and are excited about having an extra hour to celebrate this year, some social distancing shots may be in order! Set up driveway stations with Halloween libations, and reconnect with your neighborhood pals!

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again —
Set up an epic themed drive-in movie, complete with all the props and accessories for The Rocky Horror Picture Show event of a lifetime!

However, you choose to celebrate Halloween, remember the guidelines that the CDC has in place and stay as safe as you can. For these and additional guidelines and suggestions on holiday celebrations, visit the CDC and Prevention website — https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

Toi N. Degree is associate family and consumer education agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8970 or toi_degree@ncsu.edu.

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