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A pandemic Halloween is different, but it can still be fun

Kids and many adults look forward to Halloween all year. Spooky decorations, mounds of free treats, dance parties and dressing up in a terrifying or hilarious costume—what’s not to love?

Halloween this year will be a little more normal than the first one we had in the pandemic. Now that we know more about COVID-19 and have a vaccine to fight it, we better know how to keep each other safe and still have fun.

Can my child still trick or treat?

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said kids can go trick-or-treating in small groups this year. Parents and children should still avoid large groups and crowded spaces when possible.

As with almost every activity during the pandemic, your decision on what is safe or not comes down to the level of risk involved. Anything that requires you to be in close proximity to people outside your household, especially for long periods of time, carries an increased risk of getting sick.

The CDC has guidelines on its website about how to safely celebrate the holidays. In general, the CDC recommends:

  • Get vaccinated if you are eligible.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when indoors.
  • Avoid crowded spaces with poor ventilation.
  • Celebrate outdoors whenever possible. 

How can we celebrate Halloween safely?

Halloween is about more than free candy and visiting your neighbors. There are plenty of traditions that are perfectly safe or easy to transition to a pandemic-friendly celebration.

Here are some low-risk activities the whole family can enjoy:

  • Carve or paint pumpkins with your family (young children should paint—leave the carving to the parents).
  • Decorate your house inside and out to get everyone in the spooky spirit.
  • Host a virtual costume party to show off your outfit safely to your friends.
  • Have a Halloween movie night at home.
  • The San Antonio Zoo is hosting their annual outdoor Zoo Boo! event, complete with a costume contest, free candy, live entertainment and more!
  • Six Flags is hosting Fright Fest this year, recommending face masks for those who are not vaccinated.
  • Outdoor pumpkin patches allow you to keep your distance from others while celebrating the season.

Whatever your plans for this Halloween season, make sure to adhere to the guidance we have learned to live by during the pandemic:

  • Halloween masks are not designed to provide protection from the coronavirus, so make sure to also wear an appropriate face covering.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Stay at least six feet from others as much as possible.
  • Avoid indoor gatherings and large crowds.

By observing these rules, you and your family can be scared out of your wits by the atmosphere of the season—not by the risk of getting sick.

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