Celebrating Halloween During COVID-19

Updated on 2020/10/19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent significant increase in case counts, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is strongly recommending that local residents avoid traditional ways of celebrating Halloween, including not trick-or-treating this year, but rather to choose safer alternatives instead. Going out trick-or-treating or handing out treats increases your family’s risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 because it exposes you to many other people.

As was all of 2020, Halloween will be much different than years past, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be as spooky or fun! Consider these recommendations to have a safe and happy Halloween:

Stay Home and Leave the Parties Behind

  • It is strongly recommended to cancel traditional organized community Halloween events where many people gather. Gatherings, big or small, put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19.
  • Do not host or attend any in-person Halloween parties or gatherings with individuals outside of your immediate household.
  • Move parties or gatherings online where people can participate safely from home.
  • Celebrate at home with the people you live with, or with your chosen social support person(s) if you live alone.

Find Other Ways to Celebrate

  • Launch a virtual competition with your neighbors for the best outdoor Halloween decorations.
  • Organize a virtual costume party with friends.
  • Watch a scary movie with the people you live with or your chosen social support person(s) if you live alone. There are plenty of Halloween movies that will get you in the spirit! If the weather permits, set it up in your backyard.
  • Plan a special evening looking at the full moon. The last time there was one on October 31 was in 2001!
  • Set-up an at-home candy treasure hunt for your children.
  • Eat a fun and spooky meal you have made with those you live with or that chosen social support person(s) if you live alone.
  • Save the pumpkin carving for Halloween night so you have another activity to look forward to.
  • Enjoy some other fall activities that day and evening, like an outdoor corn maze or apple picking.

This year, it is strongly recommended not to trick-or-treat or hand out treats. If you do choose to trick-or treat, follow the measures below to do it more safely. Note that if the local situation changes, there is the possibility that these Halloween recommendations may change.

  • Only trick or treat outside.
  • Limit contacts:
    • Go only with members of your direct household or chosen support person(s) if you live alone.
    • Keep a minimum 2-metre distance from those outside of your household or chosen support person(s) if you live alone.
    • Stay in your community: Avoid trick-or-treating in busy areas
    • Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps. Line up two metres apart if waiting.
  • Wear a face covering/mask:
    • Choose a costume that allows you/your child to wear a non-medical mask.
    • Consider building a face covering into your, or your child’s, costume.
    • A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it difficult to breathe.
    • Make sure it is comfortable, so you or your child won’t need to adjust it.
  • Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects
    • If you can, knock instead of pushing doorbells, or keep 2 metres from the door or porch and call “trick or treat”. Make sure the person calling is wearing a mask.
    • Wait until you are home and have washed your hands before handling candy.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly or use hand sanitizer:
    • After touching high-touch surfaces like doorbells, doors, or railings.
    • Before handling candy.

If you choose to hand out treats, follow these measures to do it more safely:

  • Wear a face covering/mask.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
  • Keep a healthy distance from trick-or-treaters.
    • Ask trick-or-treaters to knock instead of ringing the doorbell.
    • If possible, hand out candy from the driveway, open garage, or lawn instead of your front door.
    • Encourage trick-or-treaters to line up two metres apart while waiting by placing markers on the ground.
    • Use a table or desk to keep a safe distance from trick-or-treaters.
  • Avoid handling treats:
    • Do not leave self-serve bowls of bulk treats
    • Use prepackaged candy or items (no homemade treats). Hand treats out directly from the package they came in.
    • Consider using tongs, or other similar tools to hand out treats.
    • Make candy bundles/bags and space them out on a table or blanket outside for trick-or-treaters to take.
    • Get creative! Build a candy slide down your front steps or railing! Build a (safe) candy catapult or hang individually wrapped treats on trees or shrubs in your yard. There are many fun ways to hand out treats while maintaining physical distance.

If you or your children are sick or self-isolating, don’t go out trick-or-treating and don’t hand out treats. Stay at home and turn off your porch light to discourage trick-or-treaters from coming to the door.

More information

Gatherings

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario