Will we have Halloween? New CDC guidance lists trick-or-treating and other traditional activities as high-risk for COVID. No decision yet on Downtown event. Pumpkins arriving at Trinity on Oct. 11.

Will we have Halloween? New CDC guidance lists trick-or-treating and other traditional activities as high-risk for COVID. No decision yet on Downtown event. Pumpkins arriving at Trinity on Oct. 11.

Broad Street was packed with Trick-or-Treaters last Halloween. (File photo)

 

As many fall events have been canceled due to the COVID pandemic, many Halloween traditions, like trick-or-treating, may also need to be reconsidered according to new guidance from the CDC.

“As with anything there are different ranges of risk,” says Dr. Gary Voccio, Health Director of NWGA Public Health. “As we’ve been saying the last 6-7 months, the closer you are to people in an inside setting, the increased risk for spread of COVID.

“As we look to Halloween, folks really need to be careful and mindful of large groups that can put you at risk, especially with people who are not in your family unit or strangers who are passing out candy and may have COVID. We still have high numbers of cases here and that is worrisome. There are a lot of risky ventures out there…Trick-or-treating is a more risky than staying home per the CDC guidelines.”

We’ve already seen the YMCA of Rome-Floyd County cancel their annual Boo Fest at the Y event, as well as many churches canceling or adapting their Trunk-or-Treat events. The annual Downtown Trick-or-Treating on Broad Street may also be on the chopping block. Rome Downtown Development’s Megan Otwell says, “A final decision has not been made, but we will announce something in the next week or so.”

Trinity United Methodist Church on Turner McCall Boulevard is still planning to host their annual Pumpkin Patch with pumpkins arriving on Sunday, October 11. Since many local schools and preschools have canceled field trips, Trinity UMC is offering a virtual Pumpkin Patch experience with boxes of pumpkins, activities and more delivered to your school. Click here for details

So, what should you do or not do to stay COVID-safe this fall? A look at the updated CDC guidance has trick-or-treating on the high-risk list. The CDC says to make things safer, maybe, line up candy that kids can grab and go. Also on the risky list:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
  • Going to an indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

As an alternative, the CDC lists these as lower risk Halloween activities:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

In addition, here is list of the risky activities associated with Día de los Muertos festivities. The CDC warns against:

  • Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting
  • Participating in crowded indoor gatherings or events
  • Having a large dinner party with people from different households coming from different geographic locations
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
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