WKU EHS provides do’s and don’t’s for this Halloween during COVID-19

Laura Tomlin is the assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety and the lead Healthy at Work program coordinator.

As a year of unprecedented challenges unfolds, Americans are seeking creative ways to celebrate yet another social tradition under the shadow of COVID-19. Halloween may look and feel much different this year and we must be inventive to make it enjoyable and safe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and KY Public Health have offered some alternatives for celebrating Halloween and other fall activities safely. Some of the CDC’s recommendations include:

  • Decorate your home or residence hall room and door with a Halloween or autumn theme
  • Carve pumpkins with members of your household and display them

  • Go on a one-way walk through a corn maze or haunted forest

  • Have an outdoor themed scavenger hunt

  • Have an outdoor costume parade or contest with socially distanced judges

  • Visit a pumpkin patch. Use hand sanitizer often especially when encountering frequently touched surfaces

  • Have an outdoor Halloween movie night with socially distanced neighbors and friends or an indoor movie night with household members

  • Go on a walk from house to house admiring decorations at a distance

  • Make your cloth mask a part of your costume. Do not use another costume mask over it causing difficulty to breathe.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health recommends avoiding higher risk activities such as:

  • Traditional trick-or- treating

  • Trunk or Treat events

  • Haunted houses

  • Hayrides or tractor rides

  • Any event with large crowds

Kentucky’s health officials instead recommend low- or moderate-risk activities similar to CDC’s suggestions but also include:

  • Drive-by costume or car decorating contests

  • Virtual Halloween costume contests

  • An outdoor parade where everyone is socially distanced

Although traditional trick-or-treating is considered a high-risk activity this year by KY Public Health there are suggestions to reasonably reduce that risk. Health officials suggest placing individually wrapped candy outside on the porch, driveway, or on a table as opposed to offering candy in a large bowl. They also suggest washing hands before and after touching wrapped candy.

Both organizations share these common thoughts. While enjoying Halloween and autumn activities, you should keep these safety measures in mind: avoid large gatherings, wear your face mask, exercise social distancing from those outside your household and wash/sanitize hands often especially when in contact with frequently touched surfaces.