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Tips for a fun and safe Halloween from the NYS Department of Health

This year, the best way to celebrate Halloween is to have fun with the people who live in your household. Decorating your house or apartment, carving pumpkins, playing Halloween-themed  games, watching spooky movies and trick-or-treating through your house or in a backyard scavenger  hunt are all fun and healthy ways to celebrate during this time.

The New York State Department of Health suggests these creative ways to celebrate more safely:

  • Organize a virtual Halloween costume party with costumes and games.
  • Have a neighborhood car parade or vehicle caravan where families show off their costumes  while staying socially distanced and remaining in their cars.
  • In cities or apartment buildings, communities can come together to trick-or-treat around the  block or other outdoor spaces so kids and families aren’t tempted to trick-or-treat inside – building residents and businesses can contribute treats that are individually wrapped and placed on tables outside of the front door of the building, or in the other outdoor space for grab and go trick-or-treating.
  • Consider non-candy Halloween treats that your trick or-treaters will love, such as spooky or glittery stickers, magnets, temporary tattoos, pencils, bookmarks, glow sticks or mini notepads.
  • Create a home or neighborhood scavenger hunt where parents or guardians give their kids candy when they find each “clue.”
  • Go all out to decorate your house this year. Have a neighborhood contest for the best decorated house.
  • Carve and decorate pumpkins at home.
  • Play Halloween-themed games with members of your household.
  • Watch spooky movies.

If you do celebrate outside your home follow these  simple Do’s and Don’ts to keep your family and your community safe and healthy.

Do:

  • Enjoy virtual celebrations or socially distanced activities that are outdoors as much as possible.
  • Trick-or-treat only with your household family group. Consider a  family costume theme!
  • Always stay socially distanced from those who are not living in your household.
  • If you give out treats, avoid direct contact with  trick-or-treaters. Give treats outdoors. Set up a station with individually bagged  or packaged treats for kids to take.
  • Participate in one-way trick or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined  up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).
  • It is best to take candy only if it is individually wrapped in a sealed wrapper or baggy, and is available to grab and go placed separately from other candies, so kids can easily pick up treats without touching candy another child will take (e.g., no bowls).
  • If setting a grab and go station, set it six feet from your front door, so  trick or treaters know they will not be in close contact with  anyone at the location.
  •  All individuals over age 2 and able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear face coverings or cloth masks. Most Halloween masks won’t be sufficient to meet Department of  Health guidance, so ensure you wear a face covering that provides adequate protection.
  • Incorporate your face covering into a costume, but remember, a face covering must always be made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and  nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
  •  Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before, during and after any activities.
  • Consider carrying hand sanitizer or leaving some out for your treat-or-treaters to use.
  • Only give out, or pick up, commercially wrapped treats that  are sealed.

Don’t:

  • Trick-or-treat or leave out candy if you are sick, live with someone  who is sick, have been exposed to someone known to have  COVID-19 in the last 14 days, are under isolation or quarantine, or have traveled internationally or to a state affected by the NYS Travel Advisory in the last 14 days.
  • Participate in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed out at the door and where you cannot stay socially distanced.
  • Pick out candy from a bowl or receive candy directly from someone’s hands.
  • If there is crowding in front of a home, or if treats are directly  taken from a bowl or directly handed out from someone’s hands, skip that house.
  • Trick-or-treat in crowded streets or neighborhoods where social distance cannot be maintained. Avoid crowding in elevators, hallways or stairwells.
  • Trick-or-treat in large groups.
  • Take candy from someone else’s bag.
  • Host or attend a party or event, indoors or outdoors, over the mass gathering limits set for your area. Events lasting several hours or that have people who have traveled from other areas where transmission is higher put your family most at risk of COVID-19. If you do go to an event and see a large crowd, or if there are others there who are not wearing face coverings or staying socially distanced, you should leave.
  • Wear a Halloween mask instead of a face covering, unless the  Halloween mask meets the face covering guidance.
  • Wear a Halloween costume mask over a cloth face mask; it can  make it difficult to breathe. Instead, skip the costume mask this year and choose a cloth face mask that compliments your costume.
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