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Public health officials offer tips for how to celebrate Halloween safely

halloween 2020
(© Christine Glade –

The Virginia Department of Health is, not at all surprisingly, recommending against door-to-door trick-or-treating this year.

“Remember that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 increases with the more people you are with, the more air that you share and the more items that you touch,” said Laura Kornegay, M.D., director of the Central Shenandoah Health District.

Some Halloween activities are safer; some pose higher risk. The highest risk activities that are not recommended include traditional trick-or-treating door-to-door, trunk-or-treating with cars lined up in parking lots or enclosed spaces, hayrides or tractor rides and any large or close gatherings.

“Remember that indoors is always more risky than outside, so crowded indoor costume parties and indoor haunted houses are especially dangerous this year,” Kornegay said.

Moderate risk activities – that should be done with extreme caution, while maintaining distance and wearing face coverings – include one-way trick-or-treating with individually wrapped treats, outdoor costume parties or outdoor Halloween movie night.

“Of course, it’s up to each person and family to make the safest decisions about celebrating Halloween this year,” Kornegay said. “However you celebrate, remember the 3 Ws – watch your distance, wear a cloth face covering, wash hands – protect yourself and others and celebrate safely.”