AUSTIN, Texas — It's spooky season, but with COVID-19 still prevalent, traditional trick-or-treating is a concept likely to be put on the wayside.
On Sept. 25, Austin Public Health said it echoes the CDC guidance about fall activities. According to CDC guidance, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, and many traditional Halloween activities, are what they have considered "high risk" for spreading the virus.
Some of those activities the CDC included are:
- Having trunk-or-treat events 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 house where people may be crowded together and screaming.
- Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not from your household.
- Using alcohol or drugs, which may cloud your judgment and increase the possibility of risky behavior.
- Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19
But, according to a statement from Austin Public Health, it seems like trick-or-treating may not be completely off the table. Austin is still in Stage 3 of its coronavirus response, which says people should avoid all social gatherings, such as the traditional door-to-door knocking for Halloween candy. Stage 1 or 2, however, are more lenient to small social gatherings.
Austin Public Health provided the following statement:
"It is hard to predict what the spread of COVID-19 will look like by Oct. 31. Right now, Austin-Travis County is in Stage 3 of the Austin Public Health risk-based guidelines, which provide recommendations for personal behavior. In Stage 3, individuals should avoid all social gatherings, which would include gatherings outside of your household such as going door-to-door for Halloween. However, if our community continues to practice preventative actions such as masking, social distancing, avoiding gatherings, and practicing proper hygiene, we may be in a better place by Oct. 31, and in Stage 1 or 2 of our Risk-Based Guidelines, which allow for some small social gatherings. It is also important to remember that as we enter the fall months that COVID-19 won’t be the only respiratory disease spreading, we will also see flu season start to pick up so we need everyone six months of age or older to make plans to get their flu shot by the end of the October to prevent a potentially devastating surge of two diseases at the same time. For more information on flu, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/Flu."
You can read more about the CDC guidance on Halloween activities here.
Some other safer activities you might be able to partake in – should traditional-trick-or-treating still be discouraged come Oct. 31 – include:
- Check out the Blue Moon on Halloween night. For the first time since 2001, a full moon will fill the sky on Halloween night illuminating neighborhoods for trick-or-treaters. This will be the second full moon of the month, giving it the title of a blue moon. The first full moon of the month falls on Oct. 1 and will be called the Harvest Moon, the nickname given to the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. The blue moon will not actually appear blue, but it may add an extra spook to the air for the superstitious.
- Watch Hocus Pocus and Ghostbusters for Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween. There will also be the "In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover" one-hour special taking place on Friday, Oct. 30.
- Check out all the new spooky content coming to Netflix in the month of October.
The CDC also lists the following activities as "low risk."
- 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
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