CONNECTICUT, CT — Add hayrides and haunted houses to the list of seasonal childhood memories being dimmed by the coronavirus this year. The State Department of Public Health has issued new guidelines for Halloween that warn against these, and classify traditional trick-or-treating as “high risk.”
At a news conference Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont advised parents who want to take their kids out and are complaining about the state’s guidance that “We’re not standing in the way, we are just giving you clear guidance on how you can do that safely.”
The governor advised those who don’t want Halloween or don’t necessarily want kids coming up to their door that they “can probably skip this Halloween and keep the door closed.”
The advisory from the DPH on Thursday follows similar warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published last month.
The health officials are asking residents to specifically avoid:
- Large parties that exceed 25 people indoors or 150 people outdoors
- Hosting or attending an indoor party that exceeds 25 people indoors or 150 people outdoors
- Large Halloween-themed parades where physical distancing cannot be maintained
- Indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming
- Hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
- Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
- Trunk-or-treat events where cars gather in a large parking lot and allow children to move from car-to-car to collect candy.
Trick-or-treating is doable, the DPH advises, but only if certain controls in place. The agency recommends participating in one-way trick-or-treating where goodie bags or a large bowl of candy are placed outside of the home for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance. If you are the one preparing the goodie bags, the CDC and CT DPH advise that you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
Before answering the door, health officials advise residents to be sure their face covering is in place over nose and mouth, wash or sanitize their hands, remain six feet from the trick-or-treater, and place the candy inside the child’s bag for them instead of having them take it from the bowl themselves.
It’s also good form, the DPH said, for homes offering candy to the little goblins on Oct. 31 to set up hand sanitizer stations outside their home.
Trick-or-treaters and their parents have their own set of guidelines from state health officials:
- Parents/guardians should limit the number of homes their children visit.
- It is not recommended to trick-or-treat with people outside of your household.
- Remain six feet away from people outside your household at all times.
- All trick-or-treating participants should wear a mask or face covering while outside at all times.
- A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth or surgical mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and does not leave gaps around the face.
- Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth or surgical mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
- Do not wear a costume rubber mask over another face covering of any kind.
The DPH is not all negative waves in its latest advisory, however. Officials there also made some recommendations for safe and alternative activities on All Hallows’ Eve:
- In lieu of in-person house parties, host virtual Halloween events, e.g. virtual costume contests.
- Host drive-by Halloween events, e.g. neighborhood or town-based house decorating.
- Prepare candy scavenger hunts at homes with your household members.
- Have a Halloween movie night with the people in your household.
See also: Covid-19 Health Alert Issued For CT Community