The original item was published from September 25, 2020 8:52 AM to October 7, 2020 8:59 AM
Fall is upon us, a time of year when many people prepare for Halloween, trick-or-treating, Día de los Muertos, fall festivals and more. These festivities are going to look and feel quite a bit different than in years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can still find ways to celebrate, have fun and stay safe.
If you are planning to celebrate this season, consider the following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VHD) and the Loudoun County Health Department to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Health Department does not recommend door-to-door trick-or-treating because that is considered high risk for COVID-19 transmission for both the trick-or-treater and for the person handing out candy. If you and your family engage in any Halloween activities, it is important to protect yourself by following these recommendations
- Stay home and away from others if you are sick. Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others, has COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in recent contact with someone with the disease should not participate in Halloween activities this year.
- Be sure to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others who do not live in your household at all times.
- Wash your hands before going trick-or-treating or handing out candy. Hand sanitizer should be used while trick-or-treating or handing out candy when soap and water aren’t available.
- Wear a cloth face covering. Halloween masks may not fit snugly against the face and may not cover the nose and mouth. Halloween masks with gaps and holes do not protect against inhaling respiratory droplets from other people. Wearing a cloth mask under a Halloween mask may make it hard to breathe and is not recommended.
- Hand out candy from a distance. Consider setting up an area outside, like a folding table, to set out candy. Space out the placement of treats so that multiple people do not have to reach into the same bowl or find contactless ways to deliver treats, like a candy chute that is more than 6 feet long.
As you and your family prepare for Halloween and fall activities, remember that the following activities are considered higher risk by the CDC and VDH and are not recommended
by the Health Department:
- Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
- Trick-or-treating at houses where individuals are not wearing a mask and where 6 feet of physical distance is not maintained between individuals.
- Trunk-or-treating where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
- Crowded costume parties held indoors and any events where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming.
- Hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household.
- Rural fall festivals outside your community.
- Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors.
- Traveling to and from areas outside your community, particularly to and from areas with community spread of COVID-19, to attend fall festivals and holiday activities.
Instead, consider some lower-risk activities
that can be enjoyed with family, neighbors or friends at a safe distance:
- Pumpkin carving or decorating outside at a safe distance.
- Decorating homes.
- Outdoor movie night at a safe distance.
- Neighborhood costume parades at a safe distance.
- Outdoor touch-free scavenger hunts in which children look for Halloween-themed items.
- Virtual Halloween costume contests.
- Online photo contests for decorations and costumes.
Each of us has a role in ensuring a safe Halloween this year by taking precautions that limit the spread of COVID-19. We encourage parents and anyone planning to participate in Halloween activities to take the time to view more detailed information online:
Loudoun County encourages residents to stay informed about COVID-19.
- Visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus for more information about how to protect yourself and your family and to sign up for email and text updates on COVID-19.
- Opt in to receive text messages:
- English: Text LCCOVID19 to 888777
- Spanish: Text LCCOVIDESP to 88877
Residents with questions about COVID-19 may call the Loudoun County Health Department’s information line, 703-737-8300, or send an email
Community Partners Safe Halloween Communications Resources
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