May 28, 2023
Annapolis, US 70 F

Anne Arundel County issues COVID guidance for Halloween

Halloween is an important fun holiday for many families. This year, Halloween will look different than past years, but it can still be enjoyable with proper safety measures. Unfortunately, many Halloween traditions can be high-risk for spreading viruses.  If you think you have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person activities or hand out candy.

“Unlike Dracula and The Mummy, COVID-19 is real, said Anne Arundel County Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D. ” To protect trick-or-treaters and avoid the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, we must continue to maintain physical distance, wear face coverings, avoid large gatherings and wash hands often. Following these tips will let your family and kids have a fun and safe Halloween.”

The Department of Health recommends avoiding traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating. However, if you choose to trick-or-treat, you can reduce risk by staying with members of your household and following physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene safety. Additional tips include:

  • Consider Halloween-themed face coverings over costume masks. Do not share masks, fangs or similar items.
    Note: Costume masks on top of cloth masks can be dangerous and limit breathing. Costume masks have mouth and nose holes and don’t provide the same protection as face coverings.
  • Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer when trick or treating.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, as germs can spread that way.
  • Children should not reach into candy bowls or bags. Candy should be given out using a scoop or tongs, so the candy is not directly handled.
  • Consider providing individually wrapped goodie bags on a table at the edge of the driveway or yard. When preparing and handing out treats, be sure to follow proper hand hygiene.
  • Avoid parties and party games like bobbing for apples or other activities that might involve sharing items that have come into contact with other people’s mouths or noses.
  • When returning home with treats, children should wash hands properly with soap and water before eating anything.

High Risk Halloween Activities Not Recommended this Year in Anne Arundel County include:

  • hay rides
  • haunted houses
  • festivals and street parties
  • large sponsored trunk-or-treats

Look into safer alternatives to celebrate with appropriate distancing and face covering enforced. Consider being more than 6 feet apart if screaming will occur.

Low Risk

  • Pumpkin carving or decorating with members of your household, or outdoors with neighbors and friends
  • Decorate the inside and outside of your home
  • Indoor scavenger hunt for household members or outdoors for children walking from house to house admiring decorations
  • Virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Halloween movie night with household members

Medium Risk

  • Halloween movie night outdoors with local family and friends
  • Outdoor, open-air costume parade or party in small groups
  • Open-air, one-way haunted forest
  • Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard where hand sanitizer use is required before touching pumpkins or apples

For more on fall celebrations see the CDC’s Guidelines.

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