October is nearly upon us and it’ll naturally bring with it a variety of spooky events and festivities. While the theme of death that permeates Halloween is in good fun, this year may actually be deadly for those who decide to participate in social events, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned. The pandemic is still underway and it will soon be joined by the flu season in many regions, making such gatherings particularly risky for those who participate and those who come into contact with careless partygoers.
The CDC notes in its new guidance for the fall and winter holidays this year that common Halloween activities can be particularly high risk when it comes to spreading the SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. For that reason, the agency is encouraging the public to find ‘safer alternative ways’ to celebrate the holiday, including:
– Activities that take place outdoors where people can keep a distance from each other
– Decorating one’s own home
– Sticking to virtual costume contests
– Limiting in-person activities to people from one’s own family
– Carving pumpkins with friends only if you’re outdoors and keeping a distance.
There are other festivities you may want to participate in that are what the CDC considers ‘moderate risk,’ including an outdoor costume party where everyone keeps 6ft apart and wears face masks (costume masks don’t count, the CDC notes), as well as one-way trick-or-treating with individually wrapped treats, going to spooky outdoors one-way events as long as people socially distance and wear masks, and having outdoor movie nights with friends and family who stay apart and wear masks.
However, there are many Halloween activities that the CDC says are high risk for infecting someone else or becoming infected, which could then pass the infection to other people in your household. These are the most common activities of the season, including traditional trick-or-treating, hayrides, tractor rides, visiting rural fall festivals that are in a different community (because you may bring the virus to them), going to crowded parties, ‘trunk or treating,’ and indoor haunted houses.
The CDC is also warning partygoers to avoid consuming drugs and alcohol because they may reduce one’s inhibitions and common sense, resulting in more risky behavior that could result in becoming infected. In addition to the Halloween guidance, the CDC has also published guidance for a huge variety of other fall and winter activities and holidays — you can find it here.