State health department issues Halloween guidance, releases recommendations on safe festivities

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Oct.13 released its guidance for people planning for Halloween and other fall festivities this holiday season as some traditional celebrations do not allow for proper social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are a multitude of ways people can safely enjoy the holiday season this year, and connect with loved ones without putting anyone in unnecessary risk,” said Dr. Lance Frye, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health.  “Celebrate, but celebrate wisely, and continue following the three W’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.”

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread and is encouraged. If you have COVID-19 – or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 – you should not participate in in-person Halloween or fall festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Guidance for those who plan to celebrate Halloween includes: avoid crowded parties and indoor haunted houses; group activities should be limited to fewer than 10 people; trick-or-treating should be done in outdoor environments only; and a costume mask is not an acceptable substitute for a cloth mask.

For those who wish to hand out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters, consider preparing individual goodie bags for touch-free, grab-and-go trick-or-treating.

In-person gatherings with people outside your household pose varying levels of risk. Event organizers and attendees should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size and use of mitigation strategies, as outlined in CDC guidance on Considerations for Events and Gatherings. 

For those planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 alert levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees. County specific information can be found online: https://coronavirus.health.ok.gov/covid-19-alert-system.

School-sponsored Halloween activities should be held outdoor and staggered by grade.

Safer Halloween activities for people to consider include:

  • Pumpkin carving or decorating outside with members of your household.
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space.
  • Organizing 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.
  • Hosting a virtual Halloween costume contest.
  • Halloween movie night with members of your household.

A full list of Halloween guidance is available on the coronavirus.health.ok.govdashboard in the Resources and Recommendations section.

 

Submitted report

 

State and local health departments encourage families and communities to stay safe

Stigler News-Sentinel

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