20 tips to help you safely celebrate Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its first guidelines for a safe Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the five high risk activities the CDC says should be avoided during Halloween:

1. Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
2. Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
3. Attending crowded costume parties held indoors.
4. Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.
5. 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.

If you and your family are still planning on participating in Halloween activities, here are seven tips to help you have fun:

1. Practice social distancing.
2. Go in small groups.
3. Always wear a mask. Use a Halloween-themed face coving, instead of a Halloween costume mask.
4. Plan your route - make sure you know what homes your children will be going to.
5. Give out wrapped goodie bags for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance, such as at the end of driveway or at the edge of a yard.
6. The CDC says if you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
7. Don't crowd at the door of people giving out treats.
Dr. Sharon Nachman, of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, says that while trick-or-treating will be different this year, it can be safe with some planning from the parents and neighbors.
See the full interview with Dr. Nachman below:

If you wish to not participate in trick-or-treating, or Halloween parties, these seven low risk activities can help you celebrate with your children:

1. Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them.
2. Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends.
3. Decorating your house, apartment, or living space.
4. 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.
5. Having a virtual Halloween costume contest.
6. Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with.
7. Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in, or around your home rather than going house to house.
8. Police in Lambertville, New Jersey recommend that residents who do not wish to give out candy for Halloween, should have their front lights turned off, front door closed, or sign directing people away from their house.
The CDC also warns that if you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities, and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.