ideas for safer celebrations | Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)


We know many people want nothing more than to go back to how Halloween was before the pandemic, but it’s important to think about your family’s level of risk and adjust plans as needed to keep everyone safe. all.

Deceive or treat safely

Looking forward to a return to trick or treat this year? Here are some ways to make the experience safer for everyone.

  • Keep your group small. Avoid mixing with many different households. Don’t be afraid to ask people’s immunization status before deciding who to spend Halloween night with.
  • Wear a mask. Whether it’s handing out treats or going door-to-door, wear a mask. Even if your child’s costume covers their face, it won’t protect them or others unless it completely covers their nose and mouth. And remember, children under the age of 2 should not wear masks. If 2 years or older, incorporate a protective mask into your child’s costume.
  • Distribute the candies individually. Avoid offering a common bowl of candy and teach your children to ask for candy to be put in their container / bag, rather than grabbing them from a common container. Some alternative ideas:
    • Put candy on a small table outside that the kids can easily grab.
    • Try out fun ways to give away treats while remaining physically distant, such as sliding candy down a wrapping paper tube or pipe into treat bags.
    • Use masking tape to mark places six feet apart on the way to your door where people can wait.
  • Spread out. Make sure that you and your children stay six feet from others as much as possible.
  • Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands before you go out and when you come home. And bring hand sanitizer with you so kids can clean their hands between home visits.

Ideas for having a safer (but still scary) good time

If you or others in your household are not vaccinated, or if you don’t feel ready to get together, the following options are safer for Halloween festivities. Remember the basics: wear a face cover, limit close contact with other people outside your home, limit common points of contact, and wash or sanitize your hands.

  • Host a candy hunt (think the Easter egg hunt, but more costumes) at home with your immediate family, or in a park or outdoors with friends and neighbors. Home teams can take turns if you include friends and neighbors.
  • Carve or decorate pumpkins outdoors, at a safe distance, with friends.
  • If you’re feeling smart, decorate different doors around the house and have your kids knock each one to give them treats.
  • Do you like to dress and decorate? Host a virtual costume party for everyone to show off their creations and carved pumpkins. Consider making a challenge to create a costume from items you already have at home.
  • Swap candy with families you know. Get it delivered right to their door for a Halloween surprise for the kids.
  • Host a neighborhood costumed parade with physical distancing. Use pumpkin lanterns to light the way.
  • Keep all gatherings small, outdoors if possible, or in larger, well-ventilated spaces where you can stay 6 feet apart.

If you choose to reunite with others for Halloween, you may be putting yourself at risk for COVID-19 infection. Help reduce risk by keeping the group small, wearing masks when not eating or drinking, and making sure you have room for guests to divide up. See our Safer Gathering Checklist to learn more.

Getting together virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice, especially if you have family or friends who are not vaccinated or who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness. Here are some ideas for keeping the fun even when you’re apart:

Go to the screen | Of course, it won’t be quite the same, but scheduling a few virtual vacation reunions can avoid being separated. Getting together online to cook, open gifts, decorate desserts, do a craft project, listen to a reading list, or read stories can create a bit of the togetherness we crave. Take time zones into account when planning, and make sure that anyone unfamiliar with teaching gets help ahead of time so they can be included.

Secret gift exchange | Assign a name to each family or friend and ask them to mail or make a contactless delivery of a small gift they give or buy from the person assigned to them. Open gifts in a group video chat and try to guess who gave what to whom.

Remote potluck | Rather than getting together, you can assign dishes to your friends and family and deliver them to each other. Or only deliver the ingredients for a dish or a meal. Then connect to your favorite video chat app to cook or dig.

Learn a recipe together | Pick a favorite family recipe, share an ingredient list ahead of time with friends or family, then get together virtually to try cooking or baking. Good times are guaranteed, whether you end up with delicious dumplings or badly decorated cookies.

Game night | If you love competition, make your virtual meetings more than just a conversation. Quizzes, Pictionary, Scattergories, and Bingo can all work very well online. Or try a virtual pastry shop, talent show, or scavenger hunt where teams run to find common and less common items around their homes. It’s also fun to set up for kids so they can connect with friends virtually.

If you choose to celebrate in person with friends or family, especially those who are not vaccinated, you increase the risk of COVID-19 infection. Help reduce risk by keeping groups small, gathering outside if possible, and wearing masks when you are not eating or drinking. Make sure you have room for the guests to spread out. Follow our checklist for safer gatherings.


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