Some Halloween activities safe amid pandemic

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children and adults alike will want to make sure their costumes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children and adults alike will want to make sure their costumes includes a mask if they are participating in Halloween festivities, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said.

The department released guidance for celebrating Halloween last week, including activities it does and does not recommend amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

KDHE does not recommend:

  • Gatherings, events or parties with non-household members.
  • Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted house attractions.
  • Door-to-door trick-or-treating – It is difficult to maintain proper social distancing on porches and at front doors, ensure everyone (trick-or-treaters and residents of homes being visited) are properly wearing face coverings, and because food sharing is risky.
  • “Trunk or treating” – It is difficult to avoid crowding and sharing food at such events.
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival outside of the community, if residing in an area with community spread of COVID-19.

The following activities got the OK from the department:

  • Online parties or contests (e.g., costume contests, pumpkin carving).
  • Car parades:
    • Drive-by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate vehicles and drive by judges that are appropriately physically distanced.
    • Drive-through events where individuals remain in vehicles and drive through an area with Halloween displays.
    • Drive-in events where individuals receive a treat bag (with commercially packaged, non-perishable treats), or take away items from an organizer while the participants remain in their vehicle.
  • Halloween movie nights at drive-in theaters.
  • Halloween-themed meals at outdoor restaurants, complying with restaurant protocol.
  • Halloween-themed art installations at an outdoor museum, complying with museum protocol.
  • Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.

Though the department doesn’t think it’s a good idea to trick or treat door-to-door or attend a “trunk or treat” event, it did offer advice for those who choose to do so.

KDHE recommended the following for people planning to participate in more traditional Halloween activities:

  • Incorporate face coverings into costumes.
  • Carry hand sanitizer.
  • Disinfect candy or other items accepted before consuming.
  • Only accept commercially packaged, non-perishable items.
  • Remember to social distance, especially at trunk or treat events.
  • Avoid confined spaces such as porches.

For those giving out candy, KDHE recommends:

  • Wearing a face covering when answering the door.
  • Washing hands and sanitizing high-touch areas such as door handles and doorbells.
  • Not using communal “grab bowls.” Instead, consider placing items 6 feet apart outside of the home or make individual goodie bags that trick or treaters can grab as they pass by.

KDHE’s full list of recommendations, including guidance on Halloween parties, can be found on the KDHE website.

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