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CDC creates new guidelines for Halloween

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its guidelines for Halloween and most kids and some adults definitely won’t like them, as many things that make Halloween fun are proscribed by the CDC.  

“Do not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe,” says the CDC website. “Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.”

The CDC then highlights three levels of danger for different activities related to Halloween.

Lower risk activities include staying home with your family and carving pumpkins, going outside with others and carving pumpkins, decorating your house, watching TV, or having a “virtual” Halloween costume contest.   

Moderate risk activities include grab-and-go trick-or-treating where no doorbell ringing or individual candies are handed out; a costume parade maintaining a six-foot distance; an outdoor costume party using protective masks rather than costume masks; going to a pumpkin patch or orchard that uses “hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing;” or “going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest.”  

The highest risk activities are traditional trick-or-treating where kids go door-to-door getting candies dumped by hand into their sack; or indoor Halloween costume parties “where people may be crowded together and screaming.”

Also include in the higher risk activities, says the CDC, are:

  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household;
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors;
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.  

The CDC says that there is currently no evidence that COVID can be transmitted by handling or eating food.

“It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food, food packaging, or utensils that have the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way that the virus is spread.”

Still, the CDC says that many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses.

“There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween,” says the health organization. “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.”

Happy Halloween!

PHOTO: ArtMarie/Getty Images

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