Happy Halloween! Here are some tips from TPCHD to stay safe this year.

We hope you have a fun, safe, and spooky (if that’s your thing) Halloween this year.   

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) developed a grading system to measure how scary various Halloween activities may be this year given COVID-19. The full article can be read here.

The State Department of Health offers these tips for a safer Halloween.

The CDC offers this guidance on holiday activities: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

The TPCHD grading system consists of has three levels and activities for each level:

  • Friendly ghost. These are the safest seasonal activities for you and your family. The chances are low that you or a loved one could catch the virus that causes COVID-19.
    • Carve or decorate a pumpkin or two. Display your art for your neighbors to see. If this is something you do with friends, try to do it outdoors and a Safe Six feet apart.
    • Decorate your home.
    • Do a Halloween scavenger hunt. Give kids a list of Halloween decorations from your neighborhood and see if they can find them all. Don’t get too close. Admire the objects from a distance.
    • Make a festive and safe face covering! Pick out fun Halloween fabrics or make a jack-o-lantern smile on your face covering to wear for the month of October. 
    • Have an online costume contest or parade.
    • Watch a scary movie or one about Halloween. Be sure to limit the guest list to people in your home. Synchronize your movie watching with friends and chat about the scary parts via text or video chat.
    • Hide treats around your house. Then have kids hunt for them, rather than going door to door.
  • Odd clown. Some clowns are funny. Others are terrifying. But something is definitely unsettling about the ones between. Be wary. Very wary. These activities have a moderate risk of spreading the virus. Take extra precautions to not let these activities fool you.
    • Trick or treat from a distance, whether collecting or handing out goodies. Keep your hands clean. Costume masks do not substitute for protective face coverings made of two layers of cloth. Do not wear costume masks over protective masks as they could make breathing difficult.
    • Deliver candy to the neighbor kids via a candy chute delivery tube (a long PVC type on an angle to slide candy through) or a festive basket on your porch where you can offer candy safely from 6 feet away.
    • Keep costume parades small and outdoors in open air. Stay 6 feet apart.
    • Attend or host an outdoor costume party Wear a protective mask and maintain a Safe Six feet apart. Keep your gathering small—five or fewer guests from outside your home.
    • An outdoor, open-air haunted forest should keep traffic flowing in one direction, enforce mask wearing rules, and maintain safe distancing. Increase distancing if screaming is likely.
    • Patronize the safest pumpkin patches and orchards that encourage masks, maintain physical distancing, and ask patrons to use hand sanitizer before touching produce.
    • Throw an outdoor movie night with a few friends but maintain physical distancing. If screaming is likely, increase the spacing between guests. The greater the distance, the lower chance of spreading respiratory viruses.
  • Don’t go to sleep. Don’t even close your eyes. These are the scariest activities with the highest possibility to spread the virus. It’s best to stay wide awake to these risks and avoid them. 
    • Door to door trick-or-treating.
    • Trunk-or-treating, where kids get candy from people in cars in a parking lot.
    • Crowded, indoor parties.
    • Indoors haunted houses where people are close together and screaming.
    • Hayrides with people outside your household.
    • Traveling outside your community to attend fall festivals.

Remember: Practice physical distancing, wash or sanitize your hands, wear your mask—and stay home when you are sick!