October 27, 2020
Media Contact:Daniel Hunsucker, health educator, LENOWISCO Health District, 276-298-6657
Celebrate Halloween Safely!
(WISE, Va.) — Halloween typically represents a time of fun and excitement for children and adults alike, but this year is scarier than usual. With the recent substantial increases in local COVID-19 cases, consider celebrating differently, and please celebrate safely.
“This Halloween season, remember that the more people you are around, the more air that you share and the more items that you touch, all increase the risk of COVID-19,” said Eleanor Cantrell, M..D. director of the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Health Districts. “COVID-19 can be spread when people talk, or simply breathe. Shouting, laughing and screaming just spread it further. And indoors is always more risky than outside. That is why gatherings with people who do not live with you – and particularly indoor haunted houses – are especially dangerous this year.”
Generally, the closer people are together and the longer the time, the greater the risk. To reduce that risk:
- Watch your distance. Avoid close contact – closer than six feet – with people who do not live with you.
- Wear a cloth face covering – a Halloween mask is NOT a substitute.
- Wash your hands frequently and well.
The best way to avoid becoming infected is to avoid being exposed to the virus altogether.
Some Halloween activities are safer; some pose higher risk. The highest risk activities – that are not recommended – include traditional trick-or-treating door to door, trunk-or-treating with cars lined up in parking lots or enclosed spaces, crowded indoor costume parties, indoor haunted houses, hayrides or tractor rides and any large or close gatherings.
Moderate risk activities – that should be done with extreme caution, while maintaining distance and wearing face coverings – include one-way trick-or-treating with individually wrapped treats, outdoor costume parties or outdoor Halloween movie night.
Lower risk activities include carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household, decorating your house or yard, a scavenger hunt or a virtual costume contest.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test in the past 10 days or contact in the past 14 days with someone who tested positive, it’s important to stay home and not infect others. Please do not participate in trick-or-treating this year.
“Of course, it’s up to each person and family to make the safest decisions about celebrating Halloween this year,” said Dr. Cantrell. However you celebrate, remember the 3 Ws (watch your distance, wear a mask, wash hands), protect yourself and others and celebrate safely!”
For more information about COVID-19 and holiday safety, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/schools-workplaces-community-locations/social-gatherings/ and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/halloween.html.
For more information about COVID-19, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.
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