Keep Your Halloween Party from Going Viral
Oct 26, 2020 | COVID-19 | Share:
It’s a question all of our kids are asking right now: are we still having Halloween this year?
With so many changes this year and so many canceled events, it makes sense to wonder about Halloween. But we’ve got some good news for you.
You don’t have to cancel Halloween because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Halloween in 2020 may look a little different from Halloween celebrations in years past. But by putting into practice some simple safety measures, you can still have a safe and fun Halloween this year.
It was already going to be different
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Halloween was already going to be different this year. Halloween falls on a Saturday, so there won’t be any rushing home from work and school to change into costumes.
Halloween also falls on the Saturday before Daylight Saving Time ends. Since you’re setting your clock back an hour, you’ll get an extra hour of sleep this Halloween. No need to hurry home for bedtime!
This year, October 31 also features a second full moon for the month of October. This phenomenon, which is rare, is known as a blue moon. (It’s important to note that the moon won’t actually be blue on Halloween.) What’s not to love about an extra-spooky full moon for Halloween?
Because Halloween is so different this year, you have an opportunity to celebrate in a special way that honors the changes without losing the fun.
Safety guidelines for a healthy Halloween
You should always follow your local public health regulations when you’re planning your Halloween celebration. All five of our Birmingham Clinics are located within Jefferson and Shelby County. At the time of publication, both county health departments are permitting Halloween celebrations within their communities.
As you plan your Halloween festivities for this weekend, we recommend that you follow these general safety guidelines:
- Stick to your existing COVID bubble.
This isn’t the time to host a large party or get together with people you rarely see. Instead, celebrate with the people you’re already spending time with. This may include neighbors your kids are already playing with or a small group of friends that you’re already safely socializing with.
- Outdoor activities are best.
Because COVID-19 is an airborne illness, it’s best to socialize in well-ventilated areas. When you do get together with friends or neighbors, an outdoor gathering is going to be much safer than an indoor gathering. Fortunately, most Halloween activities already occur outdoors.
- Remember that kids are at a lower risk for infection than adults.1
Current COVID-19 research indicates that, in general, children get infected at half the rate that adults get infected. Additionally, children are less likely to transmit the virus than adults are. A Halloween party for kids is going to be less risky than a Halloween party for a group of adults.
- Surfaces are a low risk for transmission.
While coronavirus can live on surfaces, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get sick from touching a piece of wrapped candy or a table. Unless you’re planning to eat candy wrappers, you don’t need to worry about getting COVID-19 from a neighbor’s candy.
- Store-bought treats are a safer choice than homemade.
If you’re planning to hand out candy or go trick-or-treating, store-bought treats are a better choice than homemade every year, not just in the context of COVID-19. If you’re gathering with a group for food, consider ordering some pizzas or having families bring their own food rather than sharing a pot-luck style meal.
Healthy Halloween activities
When you’re following our general safety guidelines, you can be as creative as you want in your Halloween celebrations. Here are some suggestions for celebrating Halloween this year.
This is what every kid wants to hear this year: yes, you can go trick-or-treating! Even better, because of the low risk of surface transmission, you don’t even have to quarantine your candy. Wash your hands after trick-or-treating and enjoy your candy. (Just don’t forget to brush your teeth before bed!)
The CDC does recommend that homes practice one-way trick-or-treating this year.2 Rather than having kids ring a doorbell while someone comes out to give them candy, package individually-wrapped candies in goodie bags so that kids can serve themselves. You can do this from a table in your front yard, or you can get really creative with this: hang candy from a giant spider web in your yard, decorate a tree with candy bags, or even try making a candy chute.
Trunk-or-treating and drive-thru trick-or-treating options in the community are also a great alternative to house-to-house trick-or-treating.
Attend a Fall Festival or visit a pumpkin patch
These traditional Halloween activities are still a great option for celebrating Halloween. Both are typically outside activities, and neither requires you to have prolonged close contact with strangers. Make sure to avoid overly crowded festivals or pumpkin patches, and if you’re planning to go to a pumpkin patch, you should also avoid crowded hayrides with people outside of your bubble.
Host (or attend) an outdoor gathering with friends
If you keep your gathering limited to friends in your bubble, there’s no reason you can’t have an outdoor Halloween celebration. Some ideas for fun outdoor gatherings for kids or adults include:
- Pumpkin carving or decorating
- Have a “drive-in” Halloween movie screening in your backyard
- Tell scary stories around a firepit. S’mores are optional but highly recommended.
- Have a Halloween candy hunt. You can reuse your Easter eggs for this and call them Spiders’ Eggs.
- Smash some Halloween pinatas and enjoy the candy waterfall
- If your neighborhood goes all-out for Halloween decorations, split into teams and go on a Halloween scavenger hunt.
- Play Halloween minute-to-win-it games. See how many candy corns you can stack in a minute, or if you’re lucky enough to have spare toilet paper, have a mummy wrapping contest.
Creatively celebrate at home with your own family
If you’d rather celebrate with your own family and minimize outside contact, you can still have a memorable Halloween celebration. Some ideas for a Halloween to remember include:
- Make some Halloween crafts. These can be super simple lollipop ghosts or painted pumpkins, or you can go all-out with an elaborate project.
- Boo a neighbor (or two). Put together a trick-or-treat basket filled with fun treats. Then, sneakily drop off the basket at your friend’s house. Ring the doorbell, and then run out of sight.
- Cook or bake something special. For smaller kids, you can make mummy hot dogs, pumpkin-shaped veggie tray, or pumpkin muffins. If you’ve got older kids or teenagers, consider a pumpkin bake-off and see what kind of fun pumpkin-flavored treats result.
- Moon watch. Pack a picnic, some binoculars (or a telescope if you’ve got one), and a blanket, and enjoy observing the beautiful blue moon.
Halloween activities you should avoid
While there are so many Halloween activities you can still enjoy, it’s important to note that there are a few traditional activities you should probably avoid this year.
- Indoor gatherings. These are usually more crowded, and the lack of good ventilation puts you at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19. Halloween in Alabama is usually warm and comfortable. But if Halloween is chilly this year, it would be better to bundle up, light a fire, or use propane heaters rather than bring your celebration inside.
- Indoor haunted houses. This is just another version of an indoor gathering, except that you’re more likely to be with strangers, and these strangers are more likely to be screaming. Skip the haunted house this year and watch a scary movie instead.
- Bobbing for apples. We’re not sure how many people still bob for apples at their Halloween parties, but you should definitely skip this at your fall festival or Halloween get-together this year.
No matter what you decide to do this year for Halloween, keep your celebrations safe and fun.
We have five convenient urgent care clinics in the Birmingham area, and all of them are open on Halloween. Walk-ins are welcome.
1Munro APS, Faust SN. Children are not COVID-19 super spreaders: time to go back to school. Arch Dis Child 2020;105:618–9
2COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html