Careful not cancelled: Halloween safety tips

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is encouraging Wyoming families to make plans for fall celebrations this year that accommodate COVID-19 concerns while also offering fun and meaningful activities.

“Many of us look forward each year to the fun of Halloween, as well as to Día de los Muertos activities,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “While some adjustments are needed to help keep people safe this year due to the pandemic, there are still options available for enjoying these holidays.”

Primary recommendations for helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in everyday life include appropriate physical distancing and the use of cloth face coverings. They also apply to celebrations, Harrist says.

“And, of course, if you think you have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in holiday activities.”

Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door remains an option this year in Wyoming.

“If children and their family escorts remain outdoors without staying more than a few minutes at each home, and the people giving the treats do not invite them indoors, the risk associated with this activity can be lowered,” Harrist said. “Trunk-or-treat events where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots can also be lower risk if everyone remains outdoors, avoids gathering in large groups and moves through quickly.”

Closer to home, the 43rd Annual Jackson Elementary Pumpkin sale will be slightly reimagined this year due to COVID. Organizers will host a ‘Drive-Thru Pumpkin Sale’ at Jackson Elementary School. The event is traditionally Jackson Elementary School Parent/Teacher Organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, so they are counting on the continuous support from the community. All profits go towards enhancing the children and teachers overall school experience. Pre-order and pay for your pumpkins now thru October 8, 2020. The event is October 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Costume and mask-related advice includes:

  • Do not use costume masks as substitutes for cloth masks unless made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose without gaps around the face.
  • Do not wear costume masks over cloth masks because it can be dangerous if the costume masks makes it hard to breathe.

Other safe ways to celebrate Halloween or Día de los Muertos that do not increase risk of COVID-19 transmission include:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Decorating your home
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased
  • Visiting and decorating graves of loved ones with household members only and keeping more than 6 feet away from others who may be in the area

Common ways of celebrating Halloween or Día de los Muertos that are high-risk and not recommended this year include:

    • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
    • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
    • Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting
    • Participating in other crowded indoor gatherings, events or dinner parties

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