Ways to Celebrate a Safe Halloween

With October’s arrival, San Francisco officially kicks off the season of scary. Given that community members under age 12 are still unable to be vaccinated (as of this writing)—and with some qualifying individuals remaining unvaccinated—it’s important to take COVID-19-related precautions to keep everyone safe.

Courtesy of the CDC, here are some steps to consider taking to make sure it’s an all-around safe Halloween for everyone this year.

To make trick-or-treating safer, the CDC suggests that adults: Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters; give out treats outdoors if possible; set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids; wash your hands before handling treats; and be sure to wear a mask.

For children who go trick-or-treating this year, the CDC says to be sure to wear a mask and also offers these suggestions: Make your cloth mask part of your costume; remember that a costume mask is NOT a substitute for a cloth mask; do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask—it can make breathing more difficult; and masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of two or anyone who has difficulty breathing.

Remember to wash your hands and also: Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people; use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats; and also for parents, be sure to supervise young children using hand sanitizer.

Keep your distance: Stay at least six feet away from others who do not live with you—including for activities like Halloween costume parades. Also remember that both indoors and outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time. The CDC also cautioned that traditional Halloween activities can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. Another option this year is to plan alternate ways to participate in Halloween, such as by having a celebration at home with the family.

Some of the CDC’s suggestions for low-risk Halloween activities during the pandemic include: Carving or decorating pumpkins with the family; carving or decorating pumpkins outside, while maintaining a safe distance, with neighbors/friends; decorating your home for the holiday; enjoying a Halloween movie night with your family; and holding a Halloween scavenger hunt trick-or-treat search, where your household searches around your own home or yard for treats.