FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Kentucky Department of Public Health has released its guidance as people are planning Halloween celebrations to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Health workers say costume parties, haunted houses, and hayrides should be avoided this year.
Adults and their children are recommended to trick-or-treat the safe way by doing the following:
- Place individually wrapped candy outside on the porch, driveway, or table.
- Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from anyone not within your household.
- Always wear a face covering. Halloween masks DO NOT count as a face covering.
- Clean hands before and after touching the wrapped candy.
- Trick-or-treat in family groups and don’t congregate in large groups.
- Trick-or-treat in your own neighborhood and do not travel to other neighborhoods
People are also recommended to use hand sanitizer often, especially after contacting frequently-touched surfaces and before eating anything.
Officials say these lower-risk activities can be safe alternatives:
- Carve or decorate pumpkins with members of your household and display them.
- Decorate your house, apartment, or living space.
- Have a virtual Halloween costume contest.
- Have a scavenger hunt for Halloween treats with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house.
- Watch Halloween movies with people you live with.
- Hold drive-by costume or car decorating contests with judges who are social distancing.
- Have an outdoor, socially distanced parade where people are social distanced > 6 feet apart.
- Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples. Masks and social distancing should be followed at these activities.
- Have an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family and friends. This event should include social distancing and gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer people.*
Officials say these are high-risk activities that Kentuckians should avoid:
- Traditional trick-or-treat where treats are handed to children that go door-to-door.
- Trunk-or-treat events where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.
- Costume parties.
- Haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming.
- Hayrides or tractor rides.
- Fall festivals outside your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.
- Any event with large crowds.
Parents and Guardians
- Wipe candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes. (NOTE: Never wipe unwrapped food with wipes.)
- Allow children to eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats from individuals you do not know.
- If your child is at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, use extra caution and avoid moderate and high-risk activities.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Consider people in your household who may be at risk for greater complications if COVID-19 is brought into the home, such as those with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, or older family members before participating in any holiday activity.
- Reach out to neighbors to discuss ways to ensure social distancing, safe distribution of candy, and the need for face coverings.
- Do not allow children to select their own treats from a common bowl or container. Place treats spaced apart, on porch steps, a table or the driveway with a sign asking children to take only one.
- Consider other creative ways of getting the candy to the children, such as a candy slide made of PVC pipe or hanging treats from a wall or fence.
For Operators of Events/Attractions
- Follow all state executive orders and guidelines, as well as local requirements and guidelines.
- Reduce capacity to allow for 6 foot distancing between groups as well as employees/volunteers at all times. Reinforce distancing rules with markers or dividers.
- Have hand sanitizer readily available for all participants.
- Pre-sell tickets to ensure capacities are limited.
- Consider eliminating common seating areas or play areas where children may congregate. If seating is provided, keep it outdoors and separate benches/tables by at least 6 feet. Sanitize seating and tables between each use.
- Notify your local health department immediately if you learn that someone with COVID-19 has visited your attraction.
Officials say their guidance will be reassessed and may be updated as the situation evolves in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
Some communities may decide to cancel Halloween events. Make sure to check local sources before making plans. Click here for more information.