Amid ongoing concerns and restrictions related to COVID-19, the Ohio Department of Health has released Halloween guidance, urging all Ohioans to use caution and plan ahead.
State health officials are recommending that hayride and haunted houses be canceled and/or avoided. Additionally, officials are stressing the use of caution when making the decision to participate in trick-or-treating and events that may put them in close contact with people outside of their households.
Alternatives recommended include:
• Holding a drive-through or drive-in trick-or-treat event, with children in costume and face coverings staying in cars and collecting treats from individuals spaced at least 6 feet apart.
• Holding drive-by costume or car-decorating contests with judges who are physically distanced.
• Leaving treats for friends and neighbors.
• Decorating your home and hide treats as an alternative to trick-or-treating.
• Holding costume parties or pumpkin carving events or contests online, such as by video conference.
Large in-person parties should be avoided unless attendance is limited to 10 or fewer people and the event is held outdoors where social distancing is possible. Common party activities such as bobbing for apples should be completely avoided as well.
Additional recommendations include:
• Always wear a face covering and stay 6 feet away from people who are not from your household, whether trick-or treating, passing out treats, or attending attractions or events. Stay home if you are sick. (NOTE: Face coverings
should never be placed on children younger than 2 or anyone who cannot easily remove them.)
• Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy.
• Select events/attractions that are held outdoors and allow attendees to stay in their cars (such as drive-through event with displays) or socially distance. Avoid events that involve being crowded in a small area or coming into contact with/being touched by others.
• Consider the people in your household who may be at greater risk of complications if COVID-19 is brought into the home, such as those with certain health conditions, women who are pregnant, or older family members.
For those choosing to trick-or-treat traditionally:
• If taking your children trick-or-treating, limit the number of houses you visit and ask your children to stay as far from treat-givers as possible. For small children, consider holding the bag for them.
• Wipe off candy wrappers with sanitizing wipes when you arrive home. (NOTE: Never wipe unpackaged food with wipes.)
• Allow children to eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid homemade treats made by strangers.
• If your child is at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, contact your doctor before allowing participation in Halloween activities.
The full list of recommendations can be found here.