STOUGHTON, MA — As anyone who has been near the candy aisle at the grocery or drug store can attest, Halloween is around the corner. But this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, families and health departments are noting the holiday will look considerably different.
On Tuesday, Coronavirus hospitalizations continued to rise, according to the Department of Public Health's data, a troubling trend following a weekend spike of confirmed cases. There were 444 people in Massachusetts hospitals for the coronavirus as of midday Tuesday, the most since July 23. It comes as many are bracing for a "second wave" of the virus.
Although it's not canceled here, U.S. Health officials are recommending that residents be extremely careful if they choose to do the traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating this Halloween or other activities that risk transmission of the coronavirus.
Some local health departments are suggesting that people who choose to offer candy consider setting up a table and placing individually wrapped bags of treats so that multiple people do not have to reach into the same bowl. For trunk-or-treating, create distance between cars by parking in every other space.
Halloween activities that are considered high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control:
Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door.
Trick-or-treating at houses where individuals are not wearing a face covering and where 6 feet of physical distance is not maintained between people.
Trunk-or-treating where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
Events that involve large gatherings, such as crowded costume parties held indoors and any events where at least 6 feet of distancing is difficult to maintain.
Indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming.
Activities that are considered low-risk by the CDC:
Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
Decorating your house, apartment, or living space and having a virtual contest with neighbors
Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
For those who are planning to participate in Halloween events, officials urge people to wash their hands before and during trick-or-treating or handing out candy.
The CDC is reminding trick-or-treaters to wear face coverings that fit right and protect against inhaling respiratory droplets from other people, and recommend a cloth mask that doesn't leave gaps around your face.
What is your plan? Tell us in the comments.