CDC Halloween guidelines names trick-or-treating among 'high-risk' activities

The CDC has released official guidance for celebrating Halloween amid the coronavirus pandemic, and trick-or-treating is among the activities that are discouraged.

The agency ranked a number of popular Halloween activities by their level of risk, and several of the most popular activities are considered to be the most dangerous.

With its rankings, the CDC also proposed several alternative ways to participate in Halloween while limiting potential exposure to coronavirus.

The guidelines also include clarification that costume masks are not a substitute for a cloth face covering. They say a costume mask should not be used as a face covering unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn't leave gaps around the face.

WEIGH-IN: Do you feel comfortable letting your kids trick-or-treat this Halloween? 

However, costume wearers should not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask, as this could cause difficulty breathing.

While it may seem obvious, 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.

Among the higher-risk activities the CDC is asking people to avoid are:

  • Traditional, door-to-door trick-or-treating;
  • Trunk-or-treats;
  • Attending crowded, indoor costume parties;
  • Visiting indoor haunted houses;
  • Going on hayrides with people not in your household;
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community, if you live in an area with community spread of COVID19.
GETTY Halloween

The CDC released their guidelines for celebrating Halloween safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Iranzu Larrasoana Oneca/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Moderate Risk activities listed in the guidelines include one-way trick-or-treating, where individually-wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance at the end of a driveway or yard.

Other moderate risk activities include:

  • Small group, open-air costume parades where participants can remain 6 feet apart;
  • Outdoor costume parties where protective masks are used and social distancing is required;
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards with strict sanitation and social distancing guidelines;
  • Outdoor movie nights.

The lower-risk activities include:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household;
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, while distanced, with neighbors or friends;
  • Decorating your home;
  • Virtual costume contests;
  • Movie night with members of your household.



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